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The Most Terrible Things Luke Skywalker Has Ever Done

Take a hick farm boy from a backwater planet, give him a laser sword and magic powers, then unleash him on the universe with a minimal amount of training and no oversight. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty. Luke Skywalker means well, but he's proven time and time again he's just not ready for the limelight. In hindsight, maybe life as a moisture farmer would've been better—sure, the Rebel Alliance would've been crushed by the Empire, but at least Luke wouldn't have all that blood on his hands.

Reckless driver

We all know Luke is a great pilot—Death Star trench run, womp rats, yadda yadda—but apparently his vehicular prowess doesn't extend to landspeeders (or he just kinda sucks when he's not using the Force). In a filmed but cut scene that can still be found in the final draft of the Star Wars screenplay, Luke zooms through the city of Anchorhead in order to meet his friends at the local power station—and almost runs over an old woman in the process.

Specifically, the script says, "An old woman runs to get out of the way of the speeding vehicle, shaking her fist at Luke as he flies past." That implies that he doesn't brake, slow down, or even try to veer out of the way. If the woman hadn't dodged effectively, Luke would've mowed her down.

It's not the first time that this has happened, either. After he passes, the woman yells, "I've told you kids to slow down!" Inside the station, one of Luke's friends responds to the commotion by sourly noting, "It was just Wormie on another rampage," right before he comes bounding into the room.

Hysterically, Luke's friends don't seem to like him much, either. Not only do they call him "Wormie," but when he tries to convince them that a battle took place over Tatooine, they make fun of him, right before "The group stumbles back into the power station, grumbling about Luke's ineptitude." Lucas never explains why the rest of Tatooine's teenagers don't like Skywalker. Could his unsafe driving habits have something to do with it? We'll never know.

Bad company

Luke isn't evil, but he is naïve—especially before his Jedi training really kicks in—and he and his fellow Rebels pay the price for his innocence in Star Wars Rebellion: My Brother, My Enemy. While Luke and Biggs Darklighter (one of the Rebel pilots who died during the battle above the first Death Star) both joined the Rebel Alliance, another one of Luke's friends, Janek "Tank" Sunber, enlisted in the Imperial army, and when Skywalker reunites with his old buddy, things don't go well—for either of them.

Luke runs across Lt. Sunber while rescuing an Alliance strategist named Jorin Sol from Imperial clutches, and that's when the trouble starts. After Luke and his team get away totally clean, Jorin starts to question his decisions, and sends Luke a coded message: Sol wants to join the Rebel Alliance, he says, and is willing to trade valuable information to prove his worth. While Leia and other Rebels tell Luke that the whole setup is suspicious, the sight of an old friend makes Luke as dumb as a sack of rocks, and he immediately commandeers a ship and heads off to rescue his buddy.

At the rendezvous point, Imperial forces attack, and Tank is hit in the crossfire. Luke takes him back to the Rebel headquarters for healing, and that night, Lt. Sunber breaks out of his room and takes Luke hostage. At the same time, Jorin Sol—who's been brainwashed by the Empire Manchurian Candidate-style—shuts down the Rebel fleet's navigational computers and sends their coordinates to the Empire, leaving the entire Rebel Alliance in danger. In short, that means Luke brought two Imperial agents into the very heart of the Rebels' operation and, despite some very clear warning signs, nearly got the entire Alliance wiped out in one fell swoop. Hey, Luke, next time one of your advisors tells you it's a trap? It's probably a trap. Listen to them.

It's not you, it's me

Following the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star, Luke Skywalker became a fully-fledged member of the Rebel Alliance and led a number of dangerous missions, making a quite a few friends along the way. One of those new companions, Shira Brie, ended up being much more than a friend—at least until Luke shot her out of the sky.

Brie, a Shalyvane refugee whose family was wiped out in an Imperial plot, joined the rebels after the battle of Hoth. Like Luke, she was an expert pilot and a member of Rogue Squadron. Also like Luke, Shira was brave, noble, and more than a little lonely. Before long, Luke completely forgot about his one-time crush, Princess Leia, and devoted himself to Shira, who paid him back in Star Wars #60 with a well-played round of tonsil hockey.

That's about as far as the relationship went, however. Shortly afterwards, a group of rebels led by Luke and Shira used stolen Tie Fighters to infiltrate the Empire and launch an attack on the Imperial Armada. Once the action got started, the Empire jammed the rebels' communications, leaving them blind. Luke used the Force to determine which Tie Fighters were piloted by friends, and which were piloted by foes. It let him down. While Luke destroyed the enemy Star Destroyer, he also fired on Shira's ship, blowing it up.

In the aftermath, Luke lost his faith in the Force and became a pariah among the Rebel Alliance. Of course, the Force wasn't entirely wrong—Shira was an Imperial double agent who was specifically tasked with making the Alliance turn on Luke, and later became one of his most dogged foes—but Luke didn't know that at the time. In hindsight, breaking up via text message would've been just as cold, but also a lot less of a headache.

Pledging allegiance

The Rebel Alliance blew up two Death Stars, Darth Vader killed the Emperor and then died himself, Luke proved himself to be a capable Jedi master, and everybody lived happily ever after, right? Not quite. In the 1991 comic Dark Empire, fans learned that the Empire eventually resurfaced and took control of a huge swath of the galaxy, that a whole new civil war broke out as a result, and that Emperor Palpatine lived on through a series of expendable clone bodies.

When Luke confronted his longtime nemesis, the Emperor offered him the same choice Darth Vader gave his son many years before: give in to the Dark Side and serve the Emperor as his right-hand man. For a hero like Luke, that should be an easy decision—and it was: as soon as Palpatine made his pitch, Luke took a knee and pledged allegiance to the Empire.

Ostensibly, Luke's plan was to use the the Force to learn the Emperor's secrets and destroy the Empire from within, but the Dark Side is powerful, and Luke quickly succumbed to its charms. When Han and Leia mounted a rescue mission, Luke just watched as Palpatine fried Leia with some Force lightning and took her captive. When Luke finally tried to fight back, the Emperor entered a new body and broke his spirit entirely. Leia embraced her Jedi heritage and used the light side of the Force to rescue Luke before he was permanently lost, and just in time, too—a little bit longer and Luke would've helped Palpatine possess the body of Leia's unborn child, putting a rather dark end to the Skywalker legacy.

Bad teacher

Luke Skywalker is a swell guy, but he's a terrible teacher. That's true in The Force Awakens, and it's true in the old Star Wars Expanded Universe (i.e. all of those spinoff novels, comic books, and video games that came out in the '90s and '00s). Many of his students—including his nephew, Jacen Solo—turn to the Dark Side. He constantly abandons his duties to go on adventures with Han, Leia, and his old friends. It's so bad that Luke can't even built a school correctly: in Kevin J. Anderson's Dark Apprentice, Luke decides to establish his new Jedi Academy in the abandoned temple on Yavin 4, which happens to be haunted by the spirit of a long-lost dark Jedi named Exar Kun.

That's the kind of mistake that only naïve and hapless Luke Skywalker would make, and he pays for it—although not as badly as some of his students. When the inaugural class of would-be Jedi Knights arrive on Yavin 4, Luke's very first student grows impatient with the reformed farm boy's teaching methods and starts to explore the dark side of the Force. That frees Exar Kun, who starts seducing another one of Luke's recruits, Kyp Durron.

It goes exactly as well as you'd think. Durron turns, rips Luke's soul out of his body and puts him in a coma, then steals a world-destroying battle station (no, not the Death Star or the Starkiller base—Star Wars lore is lousy with those things) and wipes out an entire solar system. As a Jedi Master, Luke should've been able to sense Exar Kun's presence before things got out of hand—or at least done a little research before setting up his school. Just like you don't buy a house without doing a full inspection, you don't establish a school for superpowered soldiers until you make sure that it's totally clear of evil ghosts first.

The Jell-O cult

The Crystal Star is almost universally condemned as the very worst book in the Star Wars Expanded Universe—and there's a lot of competition for that title. This is the book that introduced "wyrwulves" (human-like creatures who start life as six-legged dogs) and space centaurs into Star Wars canon. It's the story in which Leia hauls her children to a planet that's famous for child abduction. It's the novel in which Han flirts with a succubus, and Han and Leia's kids easily outsmart a villain trained by Darth Vader himself. In short, it's a mess.

And then there's Luke. In The Crystal Star, the male Skywalker twin isn't just an idiot—although he is—he actually joins a cult run by a quack doctor who also happens to be a gelatinous blob from another dimension. Seriously. The creature, called Waru, is posing as a mystical healer, but he's actually draining his followers' life-force in order to keep himself alive. Luke falls for it hook, line, and sinker, and only breaks free from Waru's spell when the alien tries to eat Anakin Solo. Luke's never been the smartest character in the Star Wars universe, but if worshipping a blob of goo isn't the dumbest thing he's ever done, well, it's got to be awfully close.

Deadbeat dad

The Star Wars Expanded Universe isn't around anymore—when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, the company slapped a "Legends" logo on all of the old material and said it never happened, because you can do that kind of thing when you buy a franchise for $4 billion—but before it was wiped out of canonical existence, Luke Skywalker got around. He had a brief fling with Shira Brie, briefly retired from the Rebel Alliance to live with a freedom fighter named Mary, dated Callista Ming (who he fell for when she was a spirit trapped inside of a ship's computer, because this stuff gets weird), and eventually settled down with Mara Jade, Emperor Palpatine's former assassin.

Eventually, Luke and Mara Jade had a baby, who they named Ben after good ol' Obi-Wan Kenobi. Unfortunately, training a new generation of Jedi and fending off interstellar threats like the villainous Yuuzhan Vong doesn't leave a lot of time for raising a child, and poor Ben suffered as a result. As a child, Ben was foisted off on his aunt and uncle whenever his parents were busy, was the victim of multiple kidnapping attempts, and was stashed in a secret base called the Shelter for two years while his parents were out cruising around the galaxy.

That neglect took its toll. As a teenager, Ben was much closer with his cousin, Jacen Solo, than his father, which turned out very poorly for him when Jacen began to dabble in the dark side of the Force. Jacen rewrote Ben's memories in order to keep his secrets, started grooming Ben to become his evil apprentice, killed his mother, and tortured Ben in order to turn him into a Sith. That's not a great role model, but it's hard to blame Ben. At least Jacen was around—as Luke learned the hard way, it's hard keep your kid out of trouble when you're ready to shunt them to the side on a moment's notice.

Self-imposed exile

Disney didn't preserve very much of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but one thing survived the transition: in The Force Awakens, Luke is still a terrible teacher. This time around, it's Ben Solo—better known these days as Kylo Ren—who turns on his master, destroying Luke's Jedi Academy with his Knights of Ren and devoting himself to Supreme Leader Snoke, head of the First Order.

Instead of dealing with that defeat head-on, Luke took off, which would've been fine, except the galaxy really needed him. In Luke's absence, Snoke and the First Order built the Starkiller base, which was used to wipe out the New Republic's headquarters on Hosnian Prime. Leia's attempts to locate her brother led to the deaths of Lor San Tekka, Han Solo, and countless other Resistance fighters.

Meanwhile, as evil spread across the galaxy, Luke Skywalker just chilled at the Jedi temple on Ahch-To, declining to get involved. Those aren't the actions of a hero, they're the actions of a coward—and Luke is going to have to work awfully hard if he wants to atone for his mistakes. The Last Jedi, the ball's in your court.