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Star Wars: A Last Jedi Scene Is Causing Debate Again - But Not The One You Think

Almost seven years out from its theatrical premiere, "Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi" remains the most polarizing installment in the "Star Wars" franchise. The vocal contingent of the fandom that complains about the movie typically does so regarding its supposed disdain for what came before — the "let the past die" line (spoken by a villain, it's worth noting), Luke Skywalker's self-loathing, and also the fact that there's a casino and too many women. We'll let you determine how serious these arguments are.

For once, the latest fan debate concerning "The Last Jedi" is actually in good faith, and it has to do with the final showdown between Luke and the First Order on Crait. In a recent post on the r/StarWars subreddit, user u/Raidensenn asked whether or not Luke could have survived the battle if he were actually there physically, rather than the astral projection we see in the film. "The whole point of the film is that it would have been impossible to do that," u/MrMonkeyman79 wrote in response. "And I don't want star wars ti [sic] get to the point where jedi are basically unstoppable gods." Others argued that Luke might still stand a chance against Kylo Ren and his squadron of giant walkers, with commenter u/RookieTreasureHunter writing, "[A]ll he has to do is become mobile and agile and maybe start taking out legs."

So, is it possible? Could Luke have held his own in person against Kylo and his assembled legion?

We don't know everything that Luke is capable of

Most folks commenting on the Reddit thread in question seem to agree that Luke would have long odds against a full army on Crait. No matter how powerful an individual Jedi is, being so woefully outnumbered and outgunned with no support is a near-certifiable death sentence. Some commenters pointed to Order 66 — when many wise and powerful Jedi were gunned down by clone troopers in just a matter of seconds. To be fair, the clones have the element of surprise there, which Luke would have on Crait. Even still, it seems unlikely that one man with a lightsaber could defeat such a massive military host.

The debate is fun, though, because we don't know everything that Luke is capable of during his final days in "The Last Jedi." This is one of the many criticisms that often come up regarding the film — that Luke, the hero of the galaxy, never really gets to show off his full range of lightsaber skills and Force powers. Those who came to the film from the old Expanded Universe novels (aka "Star Wars" Legends) were accustomed to more of a Gandalf the Grey kind of Luke — a master so powerful he was a legend in his own time.

In Rian Johnson's defense, "The Last Jedi" builds its own compelling myth for Luke Skywalker. And, as many on the Reddit thread pointed out, the whole point of the film would be undone if he'd actually shown up in person to fight

Luke's astral projection is more impressive than any fight could be

Some people wanted so badly to see Luke do a bunch of cool flips and video game lightsaber throws that they overlooked the significance of what he actually does on Crait. To project yourself completely and convincingly across the galaxy, to see the other side of space so clearly that you can walk through it like you live there, is a display of power the likes of which we haven't seen before or since in "Star Wars." It might not be battle meditation or one of the other Force powers from Legends that fans often bring up in discussions of the most powerful techniques, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. And, more importantly, Luke simply projecting himself plays into the overarching theme of the movie.

"The Last Jedi" is a story about failure, but it's also a story about hope. In the Resistance's darkest hour, when no one dares come and help them on Crait for fear of the First Order, Luke creates the most powerful thing — a legend. He crafts a story that spreads like fire across the galaxy — the mythical Jedi master who appeared from nowhere and stood strong against the full might of the First Order, then vanished. The way he appears directly contradicts Kylo Ren's argument throughout the film that you must destroy things in order to build something new. He's seen the danger in violent retribution, so rather than destroy, he creates hope out of nothing.

Though Disney has often messed up Luke Skywalker since then, his grand finale in "The Last Jedi" is no such failing.