J.J. Abrams Says His Luke Moment in ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Is Not “Flipping Off The Last Jedi”

     December 23, 2019

*Spoilers to follow for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker* 

As a lot of you probably know by now, director J.J. AbramsThe Rise of Skywalker is an odd duck in the overall picture of the Star Wars Saga. It’s a big, loud, often-thrilling adventure that also just happens to retcon pretty much every aspect of its predecessor, Rian Johnson‘s The Last Jedi, resulting in something that feels both massive and empty, the third chapter of a trilogy that comes off like a standalone film. Case in point, the characterization of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), whose divisive first moments in The Last Jedi saw the former Jedi Master casually tossing his own lightsaber over his shoulder. The character appears as a Force Ghost in The Rise of Skywalker, catching that very same lightsaber and admonishing Rey (Daisy Ridley): “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect.”

To many, this was also a less-than-subtle commentary from Abrams to Johnson on the controversial decisions made in The Last Jedi. Not so, at least according to Abrams, who explained his Luke Skywalker scene at the Academy screening of The Rise of Skywalker.

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Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“I’ll say, I think that people who say “Oh, this film is flipping off The Last Jedi”, like when Luke says the thing he does about the lightsaber…If the scene in The Last Jedi, where Luke tosses the saber over his shoulder, was immediately followed by Luke saying “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect,” I’d think it was insane. But one of the many brilliant things that Rian did in Last Jedi was give Luke an arc. He learned something. He got somewhere. He ended that film and recommitted to the thing that in the very beginning of the film, he was rejecting. The idea that even Luke Skywalker can learn something. For a kid to hear Luke Skywalker say ‘I was wrong,’ I think is a beautiful thing.”

What do you think? Does Luke Skywalker’s big moment in The Rise of Skywalker gel with his Last Jedi arc, or is it another awkward bit of re-shuffling? Let us know, and catch up on all the Star Wars coverage with our Force Dyad Explainer, a ranking of every lightsaber duel in the franchise, and Matt Goldberg’s “The Future of Star Wars is Bleak“.

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