Luke Skywalker

Does including Luke Skywalker hurt Star Wars stories?

We all know Luke Skywalker, the main character, and hero of the Star War franchise. Played by the legendary Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker was the one to bring balance to the force and save the galaxy after his father, Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader), turned to the dark side of the force and helped the Empire thrive and take over most of the known galaxy. This is a story that spans generations of characters in the Skywalker family, and their associated bloodlines (Let’s not forget good old Ben Solo, aka Kylo “I never like shirts” Ren).

However, it seems that with the Rise of the (fake) Skywalker, people… And by “people” I mean those loudmouths on Twitter who actually think Rey Palpatine (I refuse to acknowledge her choosing the name Skywalker at the end of Episode 9) was a good character and that she is everything Star Wars now, have once again begun voicing their hatred of everything that came before their Mary-Sue savior over… An extended cameo… Yep, Luke Skywalker appears as a central character in one episode of The Book of Boba Fett and that seems to be enough for people to start exclaiming that Luke’s time is over and Star Wars needs to tell “new stories” without referring to the Skywalkers at all.

Ok, I might make this seem a little dramatic since this is mostly going off one tweet by IGN author Kat “The_Katbot” Bailey.

(Author side comment: For those of us who notice trends in the video game industry, have you noticed that the most common name for PR reps and more well-known website writers is “Kat”?)

Now while Kat does have a point that the story of Anakin, Luke, and most other people involved in the “Skywalker Saga” (A common reference for the 9 episode movie series after Disney extended the universe away from the movies) did come to a close with the ending of Episode 8: The Last Jedi, with Luke disappearing into the force after extending his life-force to the limits in a battle with Kylo Ren. This was the end of the direct Skywalker bloodline line as it stands, and thus, the end of the Skywalker story. There isn’t a fan or “fan” of Star Wars who doesn’t disagree with this point.

It seems that the issue stems from Luke Skywalker’s cameo appearances in the Star Wars extended universe, in which shows like The Mandalorian & The Book of Boba Fett are a big part of that extended universe. According to Kat, and many others like her, Luke’s appearance in these shows is “holding the franchise back from telling new stories”.

This is a complete lie.

Star Wars is a universe where millions of stories can be told. Hell, before Disney bought the franchise from George Lucas, there were so many books, fan movies, audio plays, comic books, and other media that told Star Wars stories that ranged from backstories of characters, new generations, and so on, all without needing the Skywalker family involved. However, once Disney bought the franchise they decided that all those stories were now non-canon in THEIR Star Wars universe as THEY wanted to tell a whole new series of extended universe stories that THEY controlled, thus all those stories no longer count… Something that a lot of “fans” who jumped on board during the Rey Era don’t know, nor care about.

Luke Skywalker
The High Republic: It’s more of what the Rey Era fans want, but they aren’t buying it

Star Wars has new stories, but they failed.

Slapping the Star Wars label on media does not guarantee that it’s going to be a good watch, read, whatever. The same thing can be said about some of the “new stories” that Disney and its associated companies have tried to tell in this new expanded universe. Take The High Republic for example. The High Republic is a series of media that is based around the pre-prequel movie era, giving the writers an unlimited landscape to tell stories of all kinds. Some of the stories told during this era are ok, focusing on the history of the Jedi and other conflicts. However, a lot of time is spent doing stupid things like cooking days in the Jedi Temple, preaching the usual modern generational requirements in media, and other things that have caused people to slowly walk away from the experiment (At least in the comics, not sure about the novels) in droves.

Speaking of the comic books, there are a bunch of Star Wars comics out there nowadays thanks to Disney owning Marvel, which is publishing Star Wars comic books, filled with new and exciting stories from all over the Star Wars timeline, each and every month. A lot of the Star Wars comic books are dealing with Bounty Hunters, Klyo Ren, Galaxy’s Edge, Age of Resistance, Poe Dameron, Doctor Aphra, Jedi Fallen Order, Han Solo’s early years, and so much more. Oh? You haven’t heard about these? Well, they’re out there, but as many people who study these recent “fans” of Star Wars can tell you, while they bitch and complain about how “Star Wars doesn’t tell new stories”, they actually don’t put their money where their opinions are, and leave these stories to become financial failures and let them disappear into the ether.

Another example of failing without a Skywalker in it is Star Wars: Squadrons, a game that was set during the Skywalker Saga but didn’t focus on the Skywalker characters at all. While the game was a fairly decent flying and dogfighting video game, the story was so boring that most people would rather hit skip on the cutscenes than actually take time to see the story through to its conclusion. How about another one? The Force Unleashed, two games that only see a Skywalker involved in the beginning and end of the game. A great technical masterpiece for the time, but the story was… mid at best.

Ok, so you want something more directly tied into the franchise… Solo: A Star Wars Story… Do I honestly need to explain how bad that piece of shit of a movie was in order to get my point across? Solo was the movie that Disney hinged the fate of its “A Star Wars Story” idea upon, only to see it crash and burn so badly that Disney decided to cancel their next “A Star Wars Story” project: Boba Fett and almost everything else till the success of The Mandalorian, which revived the idea and we’ll be getting more TV series instead of movies in the extended universe.

Luke Skywalker
The Bad Batch: An example of non-Skywalker stories that do well

Story setting 101: Use the best material

When most people who are in Hollywood, or any writing medium, would tell you when it comes to setting something in a long-running franchise, the best and easiest way to get people invested in what you’re creating is to use familiar set pieces and characters. With Star Wars, a lot of the long-term fans, aka the people who keep spending the most money to keep the franchise going, know that the story is best when it involves the era set during the Skywalker Saga because it is the basis upon which all Star Wars lore was founded. Without the Skywalker family, there is no Star Wars.

However, it doesn’t mean that a Skywalker needs to be involved in every single Star Wars story. There have been plenty of great Star Wars stories told over many mediums that don’t directly involve Luke or Anakin at all. But at the same time, you have to be aware that a lot of current successful Star Wars stories are told during the Skywalker Saga setting, so you might have to put up with Luke appearing for a moment or two. I’ll get to the examples of this down below, but for this part, I’m happy to give examples of successful Star Wars stories that don’t involve the Skywalker family at all.

Going back to the times of old, there was a game called Knights of the Old Republic that stands out as one of the best extended universe stories told in video games. Without a single mention or appearance of a Skywalker, Knights of the Old Republic told a story about a Jedi who was doing some behind the scenes things during the Skywalker Saga, complete with one of the best twists in any Star Wars game that I won’t spoil because Knights of the Old Republic is one of those games you have to experience to understand and enjoy.

Another example of good storytelling but using a Skywalker cameo is Jedi: Fallen Order, which outside of a small appearance at the end by Darth Vader, is mostly a story that is set during the gap after Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith and Episode 4: A New Hope/Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While we have a reference to the Skywalkers, they aren’t involved in the story at all leaving a whole new character to grow, develop, and come into his own. Jedi: Fallen Order was so successful that it spawned a comic book mini-series, and is set to get a second game in the storyline that will extend the story even more, again without a Skywalker being central to the plot.

The world of television has been a real growth region for extended Star Wars stories, but you’ll notice that a lot of them take place during the Skywalker Saga, with things like Rebels, The Bad Batch, Resistance, and more happening during that time. Rebels take place between Episodes 3 & 4, The Bad Batch happens during The Clone Wars (aka between Episodes 2 & 3, same time as The Clone Wars animated series and CGI movie), Resistance happens during the events of Episodes 7, 8 & 9. These shows are proof that you can base stories in all three eras, with new characters, and people will watch them. Sure, you might have one episode or so where one of the legacy characters will show up and take a few minutes away from the cast, but that is marketing 101: Make something that will attract the biggest audience. Star Wars: Visions was a project that had no set Star Wars timeline mentioned, and a lot of the stories didn’t have a Skywalker in sight, and still managed to tell new and exciting stories that people are craving more of.

The point here is that you CAN tell new stories in the Star Wars universe without needing to involve the Skywalkers at all. However, since a lot of the stories will take place during the Empire/Rebellion era, which is the most popular era in which you can tell Star Wars stories because there is so much going on during that time, it makes sense that sometimes you are going to end up seeing Luke, Anakin, Leia, etc showing up at some point as all of these characters are tired into the foundation of the era. Without the characters, you notice that people stop paying attention and stop spending money. Without people spending money, Disney doesn’t want to tell stories that aren’t going to sell things to the audience.

Luke Skywalker
Luke appearing in The Book of Boba Fett was needed to close out The Mandalorian story

Luke Skywalker’s appearance in The Book of Boba Fett was needed.

The crux of the complaint that has created this response article is that 2 episodes of the recent Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett have featured characters from The Mandalorian, taking time away from the story of Boba Fett taking over Moss Isley as the new crime boss of the area. Speaking honestly, The Book of Boba Fett has been boring, with a lot of people dropping the series to wait till it’s over for the purpose of binge-watching all at once rather than the weekly airing that the series has.

The Book of Boba Fett comes on the heels of 2 seasons of The Mandalorian, a series that was a surprise hit thanks to its appearance of a cute little green alien that relates to Yoda’s species. The Mandalorian wasn’t meant to be a huge hit that it was, since it was another experiment of telling a story set after Episode 6: Return of the Jedi but before Episode 7: The Force Awakens. This era is one of those golden points for storytelling as you have a few decades missing in which anything can happen. The ending of The Mandalorian season 2 saw the return of Luke Skywalker, one of the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy. Luke takes Grogu (aka The Child/Baby Yoda) off to be trained… and the final episode of The Mandalorian ends with a preview of The Book of Boba Fett, leaving a LOT of fans without any resolution to the events of the finale to The Mandalorian.

Disney would be stupid not to find some way to bring The Mandalorian into The Book of Boba Fett in a cameo or update to The Mandalorian in order to tie the two series together. In episode 5, we saw The Mandalorian himself return and aid Boba Fett, as well as giving us an update of what happened to The Mandalorian after his second season ended… But what about Grogu? The fans would go crazy if we saw what The Mandalorian has been up to and not see what our favorite tiny green force-wielding alien was up to with his new Jedi teacher. So in episode 6, we spend about 3/4 of the episode seeing Luke train Grogu, thus the complaint.

I’m sorry, but these two episodes were needed not only to spice Boba Fett’s story up but to bring the events of The Mandalorian to either a close or to hype up a third season or another new series. People love Grogu, and since he is not with Master Luke, it’s only natural that he is going to be involved in anything that happens with Grogu from this point forward. This is Disney knowing its audience to perfection. They understand that people might be upset with the slow pacing of The Book of Boba Fett, so they use the popularity of The Mandalorian and Grogu to bring people back to watching the show. The side effect is that Master Luke has to appear due to him, once again, tieing into the storyline.

Luke Skywalker
I’m not a fan of the Rey Trilogy, but I accept it exists. I won’t demand its removal from Star Wars

Shut up and enjoy the show, or stop watching

Frankly, all this is about a pain in the ass when it comes to modern media. As someone who is pushing 40 years old, I’ve seen a lot of fandoms come and go, and also the rise of fandom from being this deep secret thing to be ashamed of in public, to being one of the biggest financial successes in pop culture. Hell, back in my younger days, “pop culture” wasn’t even a term. We were nerds, outcasts, people who would have to sneak into comic shops and AV clubs in order to buy, read, watch, and enjoy our favorite franchises with people who also enjoyed the same thing. Sure, we argued about lore, characters, writing, and all of that, but none of it was done in such vile, toxic, nasty vitriol that I see these days on Twitter.

A lot of the younger generation of fans are so wrapped up in their own “fight for equal rights, diversity, etc” that they have become the very “toxic fandom” that they think they are fighting against, demanding that the “old ways” are destroyed, forgotten, erased from history, canceled, etc. For some reason, the “old ways” and stories cannot co-exist with modern takes in their minds, and anything that is based around those older eras is a threat to everything that they want to create, hence why you see so many modern creators, fans, etc, going onto social media and complaining, then demanding, that legacy characters not be involved in “THEIR” media anymore.

Honestly, I think that those types of people have done too much damage to franchises like Star Wars, and many others that there is too much of a divide to ever get anything great again. When it comes to “something new”, there is always going to be something from either older fans or newer fans that is going to set them off and go onto social media and want their demands met. But the simple way to fix this is the old saying: “If you don’t like it, then stop reading/watching it”. You don’t like the episode of The Book of Boba Fett that features The Mandalorian or Luke? Then skip those episodes. Don’t like what’s happening in The High Republic? Then stop reading it… And most of all… IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN STOP DEMANDING IT BE CHANGED TO SUIT YOUR TASTES AND FUCK OFF!! While YOU might not like what the current story is, or the characters involved, it doesn’t mean everyone is going to be like you. Some people actually enjoy these stories and characters and are happy when they appear. Stop trying to destroy other people’s enjoyment for your own selfish tastes.