Luke Skywalker is one of the major heroes of the Star Wars franchise. First appearing in the original film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke was a plucky young man whose story began with him living on a moisture farm with his aunt and uncle, but his life would change forever when he found himself thrust into the conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Throughout the series, Luke has gone from a bright-eyed dreamer to a bold hero, and in his later years to an unorthodox mentor. He has been portrayed by Mark Hamill throughout the film series.
Birth and childhood
Luke Skywalker was one of the twin children born from the union of the former Queen of Naboo Padme Amidala and the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. His mother would die in childbirth and he would never know her, and his father would be seduced by the dark side of the Force, becoming the Sith lord Darth Vader. Luke and his twin sister Leia would be separated after their birth in order to hide them from Vader and his master Darth Sidious, who would surely consider the children of the galaxy's most powerful Jedi a threat. While Leia was adopted by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan, Luke would be taken by Obi-Wan Kenobi to the desert world of Tatooine to live on a moisture farm with his uncle and aunt, Owen and Beru Lars.
While Luke was treated fairly by his aunt and uncle, he grew up to find life on a farm to be mundane and dreamed of greater pursuits. Most of the friends he had made on Tatooine would leave to pursue careers off-world, mainly to enrol in the Imperial Academy only to defect from the Empire and later join the Rebellion. Luke also knew nothing about his father or his connection to the Force, though he did possess keen mechanical talent and was a gifted pilot, flying a T-16 Skyhopper in his youth.
A New Hope
"I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi, like my father."
Luke's life would change forever the day that he and his uncle purchased two droids - R2-D2 and C-3PO - from a group of Jawa junk dealers. While cleaning the two robots, Luke learned from Threepio that they had been involved with the Rebellion and also accidentally discovered a holographic message that Artoo was carrying. The hologram was of a girl in white robes repeating the sentence "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope". Luke tried removing Artoo's restraining bolt so he could view the full recording, but when Artoo had the bolt removed, he refused to show any more and would later run away while nobody was watching him. Luke and Threepio would go searching for Artoo the following day, tracking the little astromech to the Jundland Wastes. While they caught up with Artoo, they were then ambushed by Tusken raiders and Luke was knocked out.
Before the Tuskens could make off with Luke and his droids, they were frightened off my a mysterious robed figure who imitated the cry of a krayt dragon. The robed stranger approached and pulled back his hood to reveal an elderly Human who greeted Artoo warmly before helping Luke up off the ground. Luke recognised the old man as Ben Kenobi, a hermit who lived beyond the Dune Sea, and wondered if he was related to the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" mentioned in Artoo's holo-recording. Ben revealed that he was Obi-Wan, but had changed his name long ago. After taking Luke and the droids back to his home, Ben told Luke that he had known his father and that the two of them were Jedi Knights who had fought together during the Clone Wars. He also possessed an "heirloom" of Anakin's that he passed onto Luke: a blue-bladed lightsaber, the weapon of the Jedi. Believing that his father had died, Luke asked Ben how it happened. Ben told Luke that Anakin had been murdered by Darth Vader, not that Vader and Anakin were one and the same, but Ben considered that to be the truth from his own point of view.
After seeing the full version of Artoo's recording, Obi-Wan told Luke that he was to learn the ways of the Force and join him in travelling to Alderaan. Luke didn't feel that he could just abandon his life on Tatooine that suddenly, but that decision would be taken out of his hands as Imperial troops had come to the planet in search of Artoo and Threepio, whom were carrying information vital to the Rebellion. After finding the Jawa sandcrawler that had sold him the droids in ruins and its occupants killed, Luke hurried home to find the Lars' house engulfed in smoke and a pair of charred skeletons that used to be Owen and Beru. His home and family destroyed, Luke realised that he had nothing left and decided to join Obi-Wan on his journey to Alderaan and learn the ways of the Jedi.
Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids would then drive to Mos Eisley in order to find a starpilot and ship that could take them to Alderaan. Within a cantina, they met the roguish smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee partner Chewbacca who offered the group safe passage for a hefty price. Obi-Wan was able to settle a deal with Han and a short time later the group would board the dilapidated but fast Corellian Corvette freighter Millennium Falcon. The group's departure from Tatooine was not a quiet one as Imperial stormtroopers searching for Artoo and Threepio had been informed of the group's whereabouts and attempted to stop them. After evading the stormtroopers and a pair of Imperial Star Destroyers, the Millennium Falcon jumped to lightspeed towards Alderaan.
During the flight, Luke practiced with the lightaber under Obi-Wan's guidance. When the Falcon emerged from hyperspace, however, there was only a cloud of debris where Alderaan should have been. As Obi-Wan had sensed through the Force only minutes before, the entire planet and all its inhabitants had been obliterated, and soon the group would encounter the terrible instrument responsible: the Empire's moon-sized battlestation known as the Death Star. Caught within the station's tractor beam, the Falcon was pulled into a hangar. Luke and the others sneaked off the ship, taking cover in a monitor room. While Obi-Wan went to disable the tractor beam generator, R2-D2 discovered that Princess Leia Organa, the young woman Luke had seen in Artoo's holo-recording, was aboard the station and was scheduled for execution. Luke wanted to rescue her, but Han did not care to risk his life for a stranger. It was only after Luke told Han that Leia was rich and would reward him handsomely that he agreed to help.
Disguised as stormtroopers, Han and Luke made their way to the detention block, escorting Chewbacca as their "prisoner". After killing the guards in the cell block, they released Leia and escaped via a trash compactor. The trio and the droids made it back to the Millennium Falcon and managed to escape thanks to Obi-Wan disabling the tractor beam. However, Obi-Wan could not join them as he was confronted and killed by Darth Vader. Also, the Empire had planted a homing device on the Falcon and allowed it to escape in order to follow them back to the Rebel base.
After arriving on Yavin 4, Luke was welcomed into the Rebellion and Leia presented the Rebels with the information that Artoo was carrying: the technical readouts of the Death Star. A weak spot had been revealed in the form of a small thermal exhaust port that could be exploited by a small fighter craft; if an X-Wing launched a proton torpedo into the shaft, it could travel down the length of the shaft and strike the station's main reactor, causing a chain reaction that would destroy the station. After saying his goodbyes to Han and Chewbacca who were leaving with their reward money, Luke joined the other Rebel pilots as they manned their fighters. He would meet his old friend from Tatooine, Biggs Darklighter, who had previously left to join the Academy. The two friends were overjoyed to see each other again, but sadly this would be the last time they met.
As the Death Star approached Yavin 4, the Rebels deployed their X-Wing fighters, with Luke joining them under the callsign "Red Five". Accompanying him was R2-D2 who would provide in-flight repairs during the battle. As the battle raged, Darth Vader entered the fray in his TIE X-1 and made short work of a number of Rebel fighters. After Garven Dreis was shot down following a failed run down the battlestation's equatorial trench, Luke took it upon himself to make the shot that would bring down the station. With Wedge Antilles and Biggs as his wingmen, Luke flew his X-Wing towards the exhaust port, but Wedge would take damage and was forced to pull out while Biggs' fighter was shot down by Vader. However, Luke was not alone as he heard the voice of Obi-Wan calling to him through the Force. Under Obi-Wan's urging, Luke turned off his targeting computer, relying on the Force to guide his actions.
Luke almost suffered the same fate as Biggs as Vader was about to fire on him, but at the last minute the Millennium Falcon appeared and fired on the TIEs pursuing Luke. Vader's wingmen were shot down while Vader's craft was sent hurtling into space. With no other obstacles remaining, Luke was clear to make his shot and fired a pair of proton torpedoes into the Death Star's exhaust port. Luke and Han got clear of the station just before it vanished in a cataclysmic explosion. They returned to the Rebel base where they were congratulated on their success in an award ceremony.
The Empire Strikes Back
"I'm not looking for a friend, I'm looking for a Jedi Master!"
Though the Death Star had been destroyed, the war was far from over. The Empire knew where the Rebels were based, and so the Rebels were forced to abandon Yavin 4. They would continue the fight against the Empire's tyranny from a new secret base on Hoth, a desolate ice planet that supported little life. While continuing to fight alongside the Alliance, Luke would develop his skills with the lightsaber, but without Obi-Wan's guidance, the development of his Force abilities had stunted somewhat.
In 3 ABY, Luke was patrolling the snowdrifts of Hoth when he was ambushed by a wampa ice monster. The creature knocked him unconscious and dragged him back to its lair, suspending him from the cavern's ceiling. Luke would later wake up to find his feet frozen in place as he hung upside down among the icy stalactites. He saw his lightsaber half buried in the snow below him and tried to reach out with the Force to seize it. He managed to summon the weapon to his hand and free himself just as the wampa came for him and used the laser blade to slice the monster's arm off before escaping the cave. The blizzard outside was blinding and murderously cold, and Luke collapsed into the snow on the brink of death. As he lay in the snow, Luke heard Obi-Wan calling his name. He looked up to see a ghostly apparition of Obi-Wan standing before him, telling him to travel to the Dagobah system where he would learn from the Jedi Master Yoda. Just as Obi-Wan's ghost vanished, Han appeared riding a tauntaun. His tauntaun mount died from the intense cold and Han used Luke's lightsaber to cut the beast's belly open to keep Luke warm until he could set up a shelter. Luke and Han managed to survive the night in the blizzard and were rescued by their Rebel compatriots. After recovering in a bacta tank, Luke was fighting fit again.
Not long after Luke's recovery, an evacuation order was given after Han and Chewie had encountered an Imperial probe droid not far from the base. With an energy field shielding the base from orbital bombardment, the Empire would have to launch a ground assault, so Luke and the other Rebel pilots manned Airspeeders in order to combat an incoming group of Imperial AT-AT walkers. During the battle, Luke's gunner Dak was killed and his speeder shot down, but the would-be Jedi survived and would even bring down a walker by grappling up to its underbelly, slashing open a hatch with his lightsaber and throwing a thermal detonator inside. After this, Luke made his way back to Echo Base where R2-D2 and his X-Wing were waiting for him. While the Rebels fled towards a distant rendezvous point, Luke set a course for Dagobah.
Luke and Artoo arrived at the swamp planet of Dagobah where they had a less-than-comfortable landing right into a thick bog. Not long after landing, they were greeted by a small, green creature, apparently the only sentient on the planet, who asked why Luke had come. Luke saw the diminutive and seemingly senile creature as an annoyance, but the old goblin insisted that he was a friend who could help him. Luke told the little green creature that he was searching for the Jedi Master Yoda and the creature offered to take Luke to him, bringing the young man back to his home. Luke followed him back to the cramped hut where the goblin offered him food and asked him about why he wanted to become a Jedi, but Luke became frustrated, thinking that his time was being wasted. The creature then began talking to himself, or so it seemed, but the disembodied voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi responded to his mutterings. Watching and listening to him talk, Luke realised that the small creature before him was Yoda. Yoda was not convinced that Luke was ready or capable of undertaking Jedi training, stating that he was reckless, impatient and too old by the old Jedi Order's standards to begin training. Luke tried to assure Yoda that he was capable and that he wasn't afraid, but Yoda warned him that he would be.
For days, Luke trained under Yoda's tutelage, practicing various Force techniques and heeding Yoda's warnings about the seductive influence of the dark side. Though Luke failed more of his lessons than succeeded, he remained determined to see the training through. One of his greatest tests was entering a cavern where the dark side of the Force held a strong presence. When Luke asked what was inside the cave, Yoda answered "Only what you take with you". Acting cautiously, Luke took his weapons with him despite Yoda informing him that he wouldn't need them. Within the cave, Luke encountered what appeared to be Darth Vader. Igniting his lightsaber, Luke fought the Dark Lord and defeated him, severing his head. After Vader's helmet tumbled to the floor, the mask suddenly shattered and Luke was horrified to see his own face looking up at him. The thing he had fought was not Vader, but a manifestation of the dark side that represented Luke's own fear.
Further into his training, Luke practiced levitating objects around him when he suddenly experienced a premonition: he saw a city in the clouds and his friends Han and Leia suffering. Fearing for their lives, Luke decided to leave to help them. Yoda advised Luke not to go, that he needed to finish his training, but Luke was convinced that Han and Leia would die if he didn't help them. Yoda's warning was backed up by the appearance of Obi-Wan's ghost, who warned Luke that he would soon be tempted by the dark side of the Force. Though acting impulsively, Luke did listen the words of his masters, assuring them that he would not give in to the dark side and promising to return and finish his training. He and Artoo then took off in the X-Wing and headed for the gas giant Bespin.
Arriving at Cloud City, Luke went searching for Han and Leia. He found Leia being escorted by a pair of stormtroopers and the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Fett noticed him and opened fire, but Luke evaded the shots. Fett and the Imperials took Leia away down a corridor, but Leia had called out to him and warned him that a trap was waiting for him.
After losing sight of Leia, Luke searched down the city's corridors and made his way into a carbon-freezing facility where he found Darth Vader waiting for him. The two adversaries ignited their lightsabers and did battle, but Vader was the more experienced swordsman. However, Luke was bold and cunning, managing to escape from the carbonite pit before Vader activated the freezing apparatus. Luke temporarily blinded Vader by disconnecting a tube in the freezing machine, spraying gas in Vader's face. He then kicked Vader over the edge of the platform and the Dark Lord vanished into the cloud of mist.
Luke wasn't convinced that Vader had been finished and searched for him, leaving the freezing chamber and making his way into a corridor overlooking a vast shaft. Here, Vader emerged from the shadows and attacked again, using the Force to tear panels and pipes out of the walls and throw them at Luke. Luke swung his lightsaber trying to block the incoming debris, but was hit by several pieces and a heavy crate smashed into a window, causing the corridor to decompress. Luke was sucked out of the broken window and almost went plunging down the vast, empty shaft, but had managed to grab onto a ledge not too far below him.
Minutes later, Luke had pulled himself up and was walking through a narrow corridor when Vader ambushed him. Vader's assault left Luke cornered on a platform hanging over the shaft with nowhere to go. He desperately tried to keep up his guard, but Vader overpowered him and used his lightsaber to literally disarm Luke, slicing off his right hand which gripped his lightsaber. Using his remaining hand, Luke straddled a pylon at the end of the platform, desperate to keep away from Vader. Vader, rather than finish him off, urged Luke to join him so that the Dark Lord could complete his training. Luke had heeded Yoda and Obi-Wan's warning and refused to join Vader, but Vader mentioned that Obi-Wan hadn't told Luke about what had happened to his father. Luke said he knew that Vader had killed him, but Vader then revealed the horrifying truth: he was Luke's father. Luke cried out in defiance, but in his heart he knew that Vader wasn't lying. Vader once more urged Luke to join him, telling him that they could rule the galaxy together, but instead Luke let go of the pylon and allowed himself to plummet down the shaft. Calling upon the Force, Luke manoeuvred himself into a duct where he slid further down until he reached a waste disposal hatch. The hatch opened and he fell out to the underside of Cloud City, grabbing onto a pylon with what little strength he had left.
In his distraught state, Luke called out through the Force to Leia. Leia, who was aboard the Millennium Falcon by this point, urged Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian to turn back towards the city. The Falcon found Luke holding on for dear life beneath the city's infrastructure and they retrieved him just as a squadron of TIE Fighters came after them. The ship's escape was blocked by Vader's flagship Executor and Imperial technicians had deactivated the hyperdrive, but Artoo had discovered the sabotage and reactivated the drive, allowing the Falcon to jump to lightspeed before it could be caught in the Executor's tractor beam.
Following their escape from Bespin, the Millennium Falcon rejoined the Alliance fleet. While Lando and Chewbacca organised a plan to rescue Han, Luke was aboard a medical frigate where he was outfitted with a new cybernetic hand. After the surgery, he stood with Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 as they watched the Falcon take flight toward Tatooine.
Return of the Jedi
"I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
Following his encounter with Vader on Bespin, Luke remained an integral part of Alliance operations as the Alliance prepared to make their ultimate offensive against the Empire. Over several months, Luke continued to hone his Force abilities without the guidance of a Master and even built himself a new lightsaber. After several months, he took part in a plan to rescue Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. As part of the plan, Luke offered C-3PO and R2-D2 up as gifts to Jabba while at the same time Lando, Leia and Chewbacca infiltrated the crime lord's palace on Tatooine. Disguised as a bounty hunter, Leia had entered Jabba's palace with Chewie as her "prisoner", selling him to Jabba in order to get close to Han, who remained frozen in a slab of carbonite and was hung on the wall of Jabba's audience chamber.
While Leia had freed Han from his hibernation, the two were caught trying to escape. Han was locked up with Chewie in the dungeon while Leia became Jabba's new slave girl. Luke would later enter the palace himself and warned Jabba to hand over Han and the others or face destruction. Jabba wasn't impressed with Luke's audacity and opened a trap door beneath Luke's feet, sending the young Jedi into a pit with a ferocious Rancor beast. Through courage and ingenuity, Luke was able to kill the Rancor by luring it under the door to its pen and then shorting out the locking mechanism, bringing the large metal door down upon the creature and breaking its neck. Jabba was outraged that Luke had killed his pet and declared that the Jedi and his friends would be put to death by being fed to the Sarlacc, an enormous creature dwelling within the Dune Sea.
Later, Jabba's sail barge arrived over the Pit of Carkoon, the Sarlacc's nesting place. Luke was almost forced into the beast's maw, but grabbed the plank on the edge of the skiff he was on. Then, Artoo launched Luke's new lightsaber from his dome compartment and Luke leapt up to catch it. Jabba's band of mercenaries were no match for Luke, who freed Han and Chewbacca from their bonds and cut down every foe that opposed him, sending many of them tumbling into the Sarlacc's maw. Aboard the sail barge, Artoo freed Leia from her chains and she used said chains to choke Jabba to death. After Leia pointed the barge's main blaster turret to the deck and fired, she, Luke and the others made their escape as all of Jabba's remaining minions perished aboard the exploding barge.
Having completed his work on Tatooine, Luke decided it was time to keep his promise to Master Yoda and return to Dagobah to finish his Jedi training. However, when he arrived, he found Yoda had fallen ill due to his great age. Yoda told Luke that he needed no further training, but one more thing was required for him to become a true Jedi: Luke had to face Darth Vader once again and defeat him. Still holding on to a lingering shred of doubt regarding his relation to Vader, Luke asked Yoda if Vader was truly his father. Yoda confirmed that this was the case and expressed regret that Luke had learned the truth the way he had. He also told Luke that he would soon face Vader's master, Darth Sidious, and warned him not to underestimate the Emperor's power. Finally, before passing into the hereafter, Yoda told Luke in painstaking breaths "There is another Skywalker". Yoda then died and his small body disappeared into the ether.
After leaving Yoda's house for the last time, Luke was met by the ghost of Obi-Wan. Luke confronted Obi-Wan regarding what he had said about Vader murdering his father, but Obi-Wan insisted that he had told Luke the truth from his own point of view. Luke believed that there was still some good within Vader and couldn't stand the thought of having to kill his own father. He also said that Yoda had spoken of another Skywalker, to which Obi-Wan replied that Luke had a twin sister whom was separated from him and hidden to protect the two of them from the Emperor. Through his own insight, Luke realised that his sister was, in fact, Leia. Obi-Wan warned Luke to bury his emotions deep down for the sake of protecting Leia and his friends as the Emperor would surely attempt to manipulate his feelings.
Luke would return to the Alliance fleet as the Rebel leaders organised their greatest undertaking in the war against the Empire. A second Death Star battlestation, larger and more powerful than the original, had been built above the forest moon of Endor. According to the information obtained from Bothan spies, the Emperor himself was overseeing the final stages of the station's construction. The station was protected by a shield generated from a facility on Endor which had to be destroyed before any attack on the station could take place. Han Solo, who had been promoted to General, was to lead a Rebel strike force onto Endor to deactivate the shield. Luke volunteered to join the strike force, and so he and his friends boarded a stolen Imperial shuttle which they used to get past the Imperial patrols and land on the forest moon.
On Endor, the Rebels quickly ran into complications after a confrontation with Imperial scouts resulted in Leia being separated from the group. Not long after, Luke and the others were captured by Endor's native race, the Ewoks, after Chewbacca had set off a primitive trap. C-3PO was among the group as well, but the Ewoks marvelled over the gold-plated droid and began worshipping him as some kind of god. The Ewoks returned to their treetop village with the Rebels as their prisoners (except for Threepio who was carried around on a wooden throne) where they planned to cook them as part of a banquet in honour of their "god". After arriving in the village, Luke and the others found that Leia was alive and well, having been cared for by the Ewoks after saving their scout Wicket. Luke suggested to Threepio that he demand the Ewoks set them free and that he would use his "magic" against them if they did not listen. Threepio did as asked and Luke used the Force to levitate Threepio's throne, causing the primitive Ewoks to panic and free their captives.
With Threepio's communication skills, the Rebels established relations with the Ewoks and gained their support against the Imperial presence on Endor. Luke, however, grew troubled as he sensed Darth Vader's presence on the moon and knew Vader could sense him too. That night, Luke decided to surrender himself to Vader, but he spoke with Leia before departing, telling her that she also held a connection to the Force and that the two of them were siblings. He then left the Ewok village and turned himself over to an Imperial patrol who brought him to Vader. At the Imperial landing platform, Luke and Vader spoke, with Luke at last acknowledging Vader as his father. Luke tried to reach out to whatever remained of Anakin Skywalker within Vader, urging him to let go of his hatred and turn against the Emperor, but Vader told Luke that it was already too late for him.
Vader and Luke then departed from Endor and Luke was brought before the Emperor aboard the Death Star II. The Emperor released Luke from his bonds and commanded his guards to leave the chamber, leaving just him, Luke and Vader together. Vader handed Luke's lightsaber to Palpatine and the Emperor expressed delight in completing Luke's training and turning him to the dark side, but Luke was defiant and told the Dark Lord of the Sith that they would both die before that happened. The Emperor knew that Luke was referring to the imminent Rebel attack and informed the young Jedi that he was the one who had arranged for the Alliance to learn about the Death Star and its defences. The Rebels on Endor would soon have to face an entire legion of Imperial soldiers and the Death Star's shield would still be operational by the time the Rebel fleet arrived. Surely enough, events began to unfold before Luke's eyes just as Palpatine had promised: the Alliance fleet found itself unable to attack the station and were swarmed by countless TIE Fighters and Interceptors. Meanwhile, the Empire's fleet of Star Destroyers was keeping its distance, and Luke soon learned why as Palpatine gave the order to Commander Jejerrod to fire the Death Star's superlaser upon the Alliance fleet. Luke was forced to watch as two of the Alliance's major cruisers were vaporised.
Frustrated by his inability to help his friends, Luke grew angry and Palpatine sensed his feelings, encouraging him to give in to hate and aggression and take back his lightaber and cut him down. Luke tried to resist, but for the briefest moment he gave in to his rage and seized his weapon, but Vader intervened and prevented Luke from striking his master. While the battle raged out in space, Luke and Vader fought in the Emperor's throne room as Palpatine watched with twisted amusement, all the while encouraging Luke to use his aggressive feelings. Luke remained resolute and refused to continue fighting, but Vader continued to press his attack, causing damage to the computer consoles and walkways within the chamber. Even as Luke continued to defy the Emperor's urging, his anger and his fear began to well up within him. Vader sensed this and gleaned from Luke's mind that he had a twin sister. Anakin had never known he had two children, but said that if Luke could not be turned to the dark side, perhaps his sister could. This statement enraged Luke and he lunged out of the shadows, furiously attacking Vader and cornering him by the sealed elevator shaft. Vader fell to the deck and Luke kept striking his lightsaber against his father's until Vader's defence faltered, allowing Luke to cut off Vader's mechanical hand.
Luke looked upon Vader with horror, looking at the sparking stump where Vader's hand had been and turning to look at his own bionic hand. Palpatine laughed and applauded Luke's performance, then urged Luke to fulfil his destiny and kill his father and take his place at the Emperor's side. In spite of his loss of control, Luke remained determined to resist the pull of the dark side, throwing aside his lightsaber and declaring himself as a Jedi. Palpatine could see that Luke would continue to resist him, and angrily declared that if Luke would not turn, then he would die. The elderly Sith lord outstretched his withered fingers and streaks of Force lightning flew from their tips, taking Luke by surprise. Palpatine continued to throw lightning upon the young Jedi who cried out in pain and agony. As the Emperor continued his attack, Vader arose and stood watching as his master assaulted his son. This stirred something within Vader, reawakening the long-dormant light of Anakin Skywalker. Vader lunged at the Emperor and grabbed him, holding the old man high above his head. Even as he did so, Palpatine's Force lightning continued and cascaded over himself and Vader. Even as the lightning wracked his cybernetic body, Vader walked over to a reactor shaft and threw Palpatine over the railing, down into the shaft. Palpatine screamed as he fell before his body disappeared in an explosion of dark Force energy.
Luke soon recovered from the Emperor's assault and went to help his wounded father. Vader's respirator had been damaged by the Force lightning and his breaths were becoming increasingly strained, indicating that he was soon to die. As Luke took Vader towards a shuttle in the station's hangar, Vader asked Luke to help take his mask off. With his terrible injuries, Vader would die with or without it, but he wanted to look upon his son with his own eyes. Luke gently removed his father's helmet and mask, revealing the pale, scarred face of Anakin Skywalker who looked up with tearful eyes and smiled before telling his son to go on without him. Luke refused to leave his father behind, insisting he had to save him. Anakin told Luke he had already saved him before he gave his final, pained breath and died in Luke's arms. Luke took his father's body aboard the shuttle and fled the station, which was now left defenceless and was about to be destroyed. Just as Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles completed their attack on the Death Star's main reactor, Luke's shuttle departed and managed to get to a safe distance before the station exploded.
Luke returned to Endor where he built a modest funeral pyre, upon which he burned the armour of Darth Vader. After burning his father's body, Luke returned to the Ewok village where his friends were celebrating their victory. With the Emperor dead and the Death Star destroyed, the Empire was left in shambles and hope had been restored to the galaxy. As Luke joined his friends in celebration, he saw the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin watching and smiling at him.
Rebuilding the Jedi Order
In 5 ABY, a year after the Battle of Endor, the Galactic Civil War was brought to an end with the signing of the Galactic Concordance by the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant. While Leia and Han pursued family matters and worked toward establishing the New Republic as the galaxy's central governing body, Luke focused his efforts on restoring the Jedi Order, searching for whatever Jedi relics and texts that the Empire had confiscated during its reign. He was aided in his search by Lor San Tekka, a member of the Church of the Force, who helped Luke obtain much of the Jedi's original lore and found his new temple.
When he founded his temple, Luke wanted to take on his sister Leia as his first student. Though he did pass on some of his knowledge and taught Leia how to use the Force, she ultimately left her brother's tutelage to continue her vital work in galactic politics. However, Luke would later recruit twelve young Force-sensitives as his Padawans, including Leia and Han's son and his own nephew, Ben Solo.
Failure and Exile
In the years to come, the New Republic would face a new threat in the form of the First Order, a militaristic force that had formed from the remnants of the Empire in the Unknown Regions. The First Order was led by a sinister being called Snoke, a being whose prowess in the dark side of the Force potentially surpassed that of Darth Sidious himself. From afar, Snoke orchestrated the destruction of Skywalker's fledgling Jedi Order, using the dark side to manipulate the mind of Ben Solo.
One fateful night, Luke sensed the dark side within Ben. He went to check on Ben while he slept, but sensing the darkness building and knowing what kind of natural Force power Ben possessed, he gave into fear and ignited his lightsaber, fully prepared to kill his own nephew while he was sleeping. However, Luke hesitated to do the deed, but at that moment Ben awoke to find his uncle standing over him, lightsaber in hand. He seized his own blade to defend himself and used the Force to bring down the hut around them. A while later, Luke emerged from the rubble to find his temple in flames and Ben gone, taking a few students with him and killing all the others.
Despairing over his failure, Luke gathered what remaining Jedi lore and artifacts he could and went into self-imposed exile. He took up residence on a small island on the water world of Ahch-To at the site of an ancient Jedi temple. Cutting himself off from the Force and sinking his X-Wing beneath the waves, Luke intended to remain on the island until his death.
The Last Jedi
"It is time for the Jedi... to end."
Even though Luke had taken steps to ensure that no one would find him, both the First Order and the Resistance had found fragments of a stellar map charting a number of areas in which he could have gone to. In 34 ABY, a girl called Rey had obtained the completed map and had gone to Ahch-To at General Leia's request, hoping to bring him back into the fold and help fight the First Order. Arriving at Ahch-To aboard the Millennium Falcon, Rey found Luke standing upon a plateau alone. When she approached, Luke was surprised to find that the girl was holding his old lightsaber, the one he had lost decades ago on Bespin. When Rey handed him the weapon, rather than ask who she was or how she had obtained it, Luke simply threw the weapon over his shoulder and walked away without a word.
Dumbstruck by the callousness of the legendary Luke Skywalker, Rey followed him back to his hut and asked for his help. Luke told Rey to leave him be, but suddenly his hut's door was smashed off its hinges. Luke was stunned to find his old friend Chewbacca standing beside Rey, then asked where Han was as he and Chewie were almost never apart. Rey told Luke that Han had been killed on Starkiller Base by none other than his own son Ben, now going by the name Kylo Ren. Leaving Luke and Chewie to catch up, Rey explored the small island and came upon an old tree. Within the hollowed-out tree were the ancient texts of the Jedi that Luke had managed to find. Rey told Luke that she had experienced some kind of power that she did not understand, and the ageing Jedi Master told her that she was sensitive to the Force. Rey wanted Luke to teach her how to understand this power, but Luke told her that he had come to the island to die and that the Jedi Order should cease to be.
The next night, the former Jedi Master slipped into the Millennium Falcon and recalled the adventures he had experienced. While aboard, Luke reunited with R2-D2 who, after he insisted that he could not be convinced to help, replayed Leia's holographic message to Obi-Wan. This inspired Luke to agree to give Rey some basic initiation training as a Jedi, explaining the basic foundations of the Force. During the first lesson, Rey sensed the presence of the dark side cavern underneath the island, causing the ground to shake around them as Rey felt the pull of the dark side. It was at this moment that Luke realized Rey's level of power was identical to that of his nephew Ben, causing him to worry whether he should train another with such power and to promptly abandon the lesson. He later found Rey practicing with her quarterstaff and then with the returned lightsaber. He silently watched from afar and his concern and dismay only increased when he witnessed her speed and ferocity with the weapon allowing her to slice several rock formations apart with ease.
Eventually after the second lesson, Luke revealed that his nephew Ben had the same tremendous power in the Force she had and was warped by Snoke's teachings to the dark side, becoming Kylo Ren. He then destroyed the Jedi temple Luke had started, taking some of his other apprentices with him and killing the rest. Luke went to the cliffside outcrop and managed to regain his Force abilities, which were suppressed for years after he shut himself off the Force allowing him to sense his sister from across the galaxy. After restoring his connection to the Force, Luke came to realize that Rey had been right about her, the Resistance and Leia needing him. He went to find Rey in order to tell her that he was going back to the Resistance with her but instead he found Rey talking with Kylo Ren through the Force due to a Force-bond that he previously was unable to detect. Witnessing them touching hands, Luke blew the roof off of the hut Rey was in before ordering her to leave the planet. An enraged Rey proceeded to battle Luke with her staff, only to be swiftly disarmed, leading to Rey threatening him with his father's lightsaber. She revealed that, according to Kylo, Luke had tried to murder him while he was asleep and defenseless, sparking a duel between mentor and student. Luke clarified that when he had arrived at the hut, he sensed the power and darkness within his nephew and, for a brief instant, did desire to kill him and activated his lightsaber on instinct. However the moment passed and left him filled with shame, for the look on his nephew's face was not one of darkness, but of a scared child, only for the boy to collapse the hut around them in self-defense.
Rey told Luke that like when he confronted his father about the light side still within him, she sensed the goodness still within Kylo Ren. Luke disagreed, saying that it is no longer there. Unable to convince him otherwise, Rey secretly stole the texts to teach herself later and left the planet without him to confront Kylo. As Rey boarded the Millennium Falcon, Luke saw R2 for the last time and told him to send his best to Threepio and that he would need to stay with Rey to make sure she got back safely.
The following night, Luke returned to the tree containing the Jedi texts with the intention of burning it to the ground. As he approached the tree, he was greeted by the spirit of Yoda, whom he had not seen in decades since he last saw him on Dagobah and Endor. Luke affirmed his desire to burn the tree with the texts inside but then began to hesitate when he attempted to do so. Yoda instead proceeded to summon a bolt of lightning, setting the tree alight and while laughing, repelled Luke with the flames when he changed his mind and tried to save the texts. As the tree burned, the two masters sat next to each other and Yoda reminded Luke that he needed to heed his final instructions to him before Yoda's physical death on Dagobah, namely passing down what he had learned. Luke lamented over the loss of the texts, but Yoda slyly stated that although the texts held wisdom, 'page turners, they were not', and they didn't contain anything Rey did not already have with her. Luke tried to explain that by failing Ben he felt that he a had failed the Jedi, but Yoda explained that 'failure is the greatest teacher' and that failure was an essential part of what he had implored Luke to pass on so many years before.
Later, after Rey had reunited with the Resistance on the planet Crait, Luke appeared within the old Rebel base and greeted his sister Leia. He told her he was going to confront her son Ben, who at that moment was leading the First Order's assault on the base. With regret, Luke told Leia that he wouldn't be able to save her son as he had their father years ago and Leia accepted this. Luke then stepped outside the base where he faced a line of AT-M6 assault walkers.
Kylo Ren, shaken to find his uncle facing him down, commanded his walker force to take aim at Luke and to keep firing constantly. The walkers let loose a barrage of laser fire upon Luke which held up for several seconds, pulverizing the area around him and turning the ground to glass. General Hux gave the cease-fire order, but when the dust cleared, Luke still stood on that same spot, completely unscathed.
Kylo decided to step outside and face his old master down, mockingly asking Luke if he had come to save him. Luke said that he knew Kylo was already beyond redemption, and at that Kylo ignited his lightsaber. Luke revealed his lightsaber too, but it appeared to be the same blue-bladed weapon that Rey had taken with her when she left Ahch-To, which had been destroyed when she confronted Kylo aboard his Mega Star Destroyer. Kylo attacked, but each time he did, Luke would simply evade each saber swing without making any sort of counter-attack. After evading Kylo for a time, Luke stopped and apologized to Kylo, stating that he had failed him. He also informed his former student that victory was not so certain as he believed; that the war was only beginning, and that the Jedi would continue. He then deactivated his lightsaber and offered to let Kylo strike him down, but warned him that doing so in anger would only cause him pain, just as killing Han had, and stated that in death, he would always be with his nephew. Kylo ignored all of these warnings and promptly charged Luke, running him through.
To Kylo's astonishment, and everyone watching the duel, Kylo's attack seemed to have no effect on Luke. As it turned out, Luke wasn't actually there at all; he was still on Ahch-To and was using the Force to project a manifestation of himself across space. While keeping Kylo distracted with his Force projection, Luke was giving the Resistance time to escape and reconvene. Luke made his final farewell to Kylo before his projection disappeared. Back on Ahch-To, however, the use of the Force projection over such a tremendous distance had taken its toll on Luke's body. The old Jedi Master sat atop his meditative altar on the cliff where he had trained Rey, finally at peace as he watched the binary suns set. Succumbing to the strain, Luke passed away and his body vanished into the Force, his Jedi robe blowing away on the wind.
Like his masters before him, death was not the end for Luke Skywalker. He would return to the material realm as a Force ghost, continuing to advise Rey as she carried on with her quest to bring Kylo Ren back from the dark side of the Force and destroy the First Order.
A year after Luke's death, Rey had returned to Ahch-To, intent on remaining there for the rest of her life following the revelation that she was related to Emperor Palpatine. As she threw her lightsaber into the wreckage of her ship, Luke appeared and grabbed it out of the air. Admitting that he was wrong in exiling himself, Luke consoled her that her legacy would not be defined by her bloodline but by her heart and her actions. When Rey lamented that Kylo Ren destroyed the final Sith marker that led to where the resurrected Emperor was residing, Luke mirrored the words of Yoda, stating that she had everything she needed. As a parting gift, Luke gifted Rey his sister's lightsaber and raised his old X-Wing from the depths of the ocean for Rey to use and travel to Exegol.
Luke was among the numerous Jedi that gave Rey the inner strength to overcome the Emperor and finally destroy him. Luke appeared one more time with his sister on Tatooine and watched from afar as Rey buried both their first lightsabers at the old Lars Homestead.