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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wrote a (Very Long) Defense of Luke Skywalker in THE LAST JEDI

Like the First Order staring down the Resistance on Crait, battle lines have been drawn among Star Wars fans when it comes to whether they loved or hated The Last Jedi. And much of that revolves around how people felt about what the movie did with Luke Skywalker. Those feelings are so strong in both directions that it’s impossible to discuss the film without Luke coming up, and some animosity toward Star Wars‘ former golden boy is sure to surface.

And it is precisely that animosity that led one staunch Luke defender, none other than Joseph Gordon-Levitt himself, to write about why he thought the older, new-and-not-necessarily-improved Skywalker we met after 40 years was such a brave and smart choice for the character.

The actor posted his essay, which we first came across at Mashable, on Medium. While he admits he has a close relationship with writer and director Rian Johnson (he starred in his films Looper and Brick, and even lends a voice to one character on Canto Bight), he said Johnson had no idea he was going to post his thoughts. And while he wasn’t interested in trying to tell anyone they were wrong for not liking this portrayal of Luke (“Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to be wrong when it comes to movies, or art, or literature, or whatever you wanna call it.”), he wanted to explore what happened to the brave Jedi Master we knew and loved, and why it has evoked such strong, negative reactions from some fans.

“For so many of us, Luke is the epitome of a hero. He is what we strive to be. He’s also our access point into a world we love. We got to know Star Wars through the eyes of this character. And now, after all this time, we finally get to see him again, and he sorta sucks as a person. He’s disrespecting everything a Jedi is supposed to stand for. Ultimately it feels like he’s disrespecting us. Or, as some fans concluded, this just isn’t the real Luke Skywalker, but rather a bastardization perpetrated by bad storytelling or corporate interests.”

But ultimately Gordon-Levitt says that not only would it have been a “huge missed opportunity” to see a different Luke, it wouldn’t have made sense for him to be the same person after 40 years, especially after seeing what had happened to him during that time. And that change for the worse allowed Luke to still be the hero we wanted him to be.

“Yes, when the movie begins, Luke has grown cynical. He’s lost faith in what it means to be a Jedi. He’s let fear of the Dark Side of the Force corner him into isolation and inaction. But he needs to start there, so that he can overcome this grave deficit.”

Maybe you still disagree (I know I don’t), but who knows how you’ll feel about it in 40 years. Because like Luke, it’s doubtful you’ll be the same person then.

Did you like Luke’s portrayal in the movie? Tell us why in the comments below.

Images: Lucasfilm, Warner Bros.

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