Luke Skywalker

Star Wars Character Profile

Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles Jabba's guards on the sail barge in the Dune Sea on Tatooine in Episode VI. Lucasfilm Ltd.

The hero of the Rebellion in the Star Wars Original Trilogy, Luke Skywalker marked the beginning of a new order of Jedi, one very different from the Jedi Order in the Prequels. The son of Anakin Skywalker (who became Darth Vader), Luke had all of his father's Force potential, but managed (for the most part) to avoid the pull of the dark side. His strength helped Darth Vader return to the light side of the Force and defeat the Emperor.

Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars Films

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Luke was born on Polis Massa in 19 BBY. His mother, Padmé Amidala, died in childbirth. His twin sister, Leia, was adopted by Queen Breha and Bail Organa of Alderaan. Obi-Wan Kenobi took Luke to Anakin's step-brother and his wife, Owen and Beru Lars, on Tatooine.

Episode IV: A New Hope

Work on his uncle's moisture farm was dull, and Luke dreamed of leaving Tatooine to have adventures. By the time he was 19 years old, most of his friends had attended the Imperial Academy, and his best friend Biggs Darklighter had defected to the Rebel Alliance.

A battle above Tatooine led to a change in Luke's fortune: Leia, now a senator and Rebel leader, had hidden the plans to the Imperial Death Star in a droid, R2-D2, before getting captured by Darth Vader. R2-D2 and his counterpart, C-3PO, led Luke to Obi-Wan Kenobi. A general in the Clone Wars and Anakin's former master, Obi-Wan revealed to Luke that his father was not a navigator on a spice freighter, but a Jedi knight.

After Imperial Stormtroopers tracked the droids to Luke's home and killed his aunt and uncle, Luke agreed to come with Obi-Wan to Leia's home planet of Alderaan. But when they reached Alderaan (courtesy of smuggler Han Solo and his partner Chewbacca), they discovered that the planet had been destroyed.

He successfully helped rescue Princess Leia from the Death Star, but lost his mentor.

When the Death Star attacked the Rebel Base on Yavin 4, Luke's piloting skills and newly discovered Force abilities helped him fire the shot that destroyed the Imperial superweapon. Darth Vader sensed that the Force was strong with Luke, but did not yet realize that Luke was his son.

On the ice world Hoth, Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force Ghost counseled Luke to find the Jedi Master Yoda, in hiding on the planet Dagobah. Despite Yoda's warning, Luke left before his training was complete to rescue Han and Leia from Darth Vader. When he faced Vader in a duel, the Sith Lord cut off Luke's hand, then revealed that he was Luke's father.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

In the following year, Luke constructed his own lightsaber and became a Jedi Knight. After helping Leia rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, he returned to Yoda, only to see the Jedi Master die of old age. From Obi-Wan's Force ghost, Luke learned that Leia was his twin sister.

Believing that he still sensed good in his father, Luke turned himself over to the Imperials. On the second Death Star above the Forest Moon of Endor, Luke faced Vader once again, this time before the Emperor.

Refusing to join the Emperor and become a Sith, Luke successfully convinced his father to return to the light side of the Force. Vader destroyed the Emperor, but was mortally injured, living only long enough to bid a final farewell to his son.

Luke Skywalker After Return of the Jedi

The defeat of the Empire was only the beginning of the battles Luke Skywalker would face. A remnant of Imperial officers and their loyal followers would threaten the New Republic for over a decade. One of the enemies Luke encountered was Mara Jade, a former Dark Jedi and servant of the Emperor. Although their initial relationship was less than pleasant -- the Emperor had ordered Mara to kill Luke -- they soon fell into a tentative alliance against a common enemy.

Despite his inexperience as a Jedi (and recent fall to the Dark Side in the service of the resurrected Emperor), Luke Skywalker set about rebuilding the Jedi Order. Declaring himself a Jedi Master, he founded a new Jedi Academy on Yavin 4, where he began training students in the Force -- many his age or older. The New Jedi Order faced one of their first struggles when the spirit of Exar Kun, an Old Republic Sith, tempted several students to the dark side; together, they were able to destroy him.

The New Jedi Order initially strengthened under Luke's leadership; but as the Order grew, the lack of a Jedi Council led to conflict and splintering between adherents of different philosophical views. During the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, Luke adopted a view of the Force which held that Jedi must embrace both sides, light and dark. When the New Jedi Order threatened to split over how involved the Jedi should be in political matters, Luke appointed himself Jedi Grand Master in an attempt to unite the two factions.

After several unsuccessful romances, Luke married Mara Jade in 20 ABY. Their son, Ben Skywalker, was born six years later. Like many powerful Jedi, Luke returned as a Force Ghost after his death. He provided council to his descendant, Cade Skywalker, helping convince the smuggler to take up his destiny as a Jedi Knight.

Luke Skywalker Behind the Scenes

In early drafts of the Star Wars story, Luke Skywalker's role of farmboy-turned-Jedi hero was filled by Annikin Starkiller, a character who combined the traits of Luke and Prequel-era Anakin Skywalker. The name “Starkiller” was changed to “Skywalker,” which had less violent connotations, late in the script's development. “Starkiller” later became the name of Darth Vader's secret apprentice in the video game The Force Unleashed.

Luke Skywalker was portrayed by Mark Hamill in the Star Wars Original Trilogy, the Star Wars Holiday Special and other media, including a commercial for the New Jedi Order book series, Robot Chicken: Star Wars, and an episode of The Muppet Show. In Revenge of the Sith, Aidan Barton briefly appeared as the infants Luke and Leia. Several voice actors have portrayed Luke in Star Wars radio dramas and video games, including Bob Bergen, Joshua Fardon and Mark Benninghofen.

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Hill, Amelia. "Luke Skywalker." ThoughtCo, May. 31, 2014, thoughtco.com/luke-skywalker-star-wars-2957992. Hill, Amelia. (2014, May 31). Luke Skywalker. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/luke-skywalker-star-wars-2957992 Hill, Amelia. "Luke Skywalker." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/luke-skywalker-star-wars-2957992 (accessed November 20, 2017).