Luke cutting himself off from / reconnecting to the Force

@Alastair I appreciate your thoughtful discussion in the most recent Story and Star Wars re: Luke's being cut off from / reconnected to the Force. FWIW, this is one of the few areas in which the TLJ novelization provides additional insight.

According to the novelization, Luke proactively cuts himself off from the Force and, after the Third Lesson (which is included in the novel), proactively reconnects to the Force by "reaching out" the same way in which he instructed Rey to feel the Force. That's the moment at which Leia awakes from her coma, uttering, "Luke," which I believe is included in the movie - but maybe I need a re-watch to be sure!

Either way, the first evidence we have in the movie that Luke has reconnected with the Force actually comes before he levi-stops his fall. It is when he walks in on Rey communing with Kylo and Force blows up the hut with his reaction. In the novelization, he had been coming to the hut to tell Rey that he had reconnected with the Force and would return with her to join the rebellion. 

You may debate, of course, whether the novelization of the movie is canon per se and, even if so, everyone is, of course, entitled to her own head canon. To me, the question of Luke's agency in being cut off or cutting himself off comes down to characterization. Is this the bad ass Master of the Force we know from the end of Return of the Jedi? Or is this the whiny brat who wants to go to Toshe Station to pick up some power converters and sulk about going nowhere? I find it more coherent that the former might be cut off from the Force due to his devastation while the latter might cut himself off as a way of "taking his toys and going home."

Regardless of which you choose to believe in your own head canon, something I liked about TLJ was the reminder that those two versions of Luke are part of the same character. It's a reminder that all of our heroes - both mythological and IRL - are complex, flawed individuals. We need to remind ourselves of that before we follow them blindly but we (and they) also need to remind themselves that flaws and failures are OK. When we learn from them, we can walk out with a laser sword and face down the entire First Order!


  • Great thoughts! It sounds like I need to read the novelization, I've heard it's actually really good and helps smooth over some of the speed bumps the movie has for some people.

    I actually like that Luke is in seclusion - he's flawed, he has failed, he has suffered great tragedy, - he has had to see/partially cause the death of his father, almost killed his own nephew out of fear/arrogance (?) and witnessed the destruction of the Jedi academy as a result... there is only so much pain a person can take before they break. And that's what I love about the end of that film... Luke returns to fight, to get redemption, and to sacrifice himself and spark the light of the rebellion. He gives them the courage and hope to fight - helps them see that they don't need him to save them, they need to/can do it themselves.

    I really can't wait for Episode 9!
  • The dreaded subject-line spoiler!
  • @ArtKBookworm you said it!

    @Joseph I don't quite understand. Are you suggesting that this discussion thread should have had a spoiler warning in the title and saved the content for below? I figured the statute of limitations on spoilers for the film was over after six months - and especially because this was a response to a specific discussion in a Story and Star Wars episode - but I may not be up on spoiler etiquette. If that's the case, please let me know. Or, if not, please clarify!
  • I haven't actually seen the movie, so the reference to being cut off from the force was a spoiler for me, but I don't actually care. I think six months is a perfectly reasonable amount of time, though I'm not really au fait with spoiler etiquette either. Really I was just being a wag. 
  • Lol, wag away! I don't know what the hell I'm doing most of the time so I'm happy to be called out if I'm screwing the pooch.
  • Tangent here, but it's worth noting that that particular incident isn't actually the Third Lesson. Or at least, it's not unambiguously so. They're trying to be vague about it/leave room for possible future explanation or something from what I understand/vaguely recall seeing Jason Fry etc all say.
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