7 Reasons Luke Skywalker Was Basically Useless After ‘A New Hope’

Star Wars: A New Hope
Star Wars: A New Hope

OK, Luke blew up the blew up the Death Star, well the first Death Star. There’s no question that he was the hero in A New Hope and the galaxy would have caved to intergalactic tyranny if not for him. He saved, the day, got his sister, and all is made right.

But the Star Wars trilogy is just that, a trilogy. And the horrible truth is that after Leia gives Luke his medal at the Rebel’s Nuremberg rally that concludes the first film (I have personally excommunicated the prequels from Star Wars cannon) he has nothing left to contribute other than his vain and selfish quest to become a Jedi. How can that be you ask? Well let me list the ways:

1. The Emperor Would Have Been Blown Up Either Way

The big threats to the galaxy in the second and third films are the Imperial fleet, the second Death Star and the Emperor. Well, the rebel fleet crippled the imperial fleet. Han, Leia and Chewie destroyed the shield generator and then Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles took out the Death Star. You’ll notice Luke’s name is conspicuously absent.

Oh, but what about the Emperor?

Well, for starters, Luke doesn’t even kill the Emperor. The Emperor was actually electrocuting his ass until Luke’s deadbeat father felt bad enough for his pathetic son to throw the Emperor down a space well. But it should be pointed out that the Death Star blew up like maybe 10 minutes after that happened.

Ahh, but maybe the Emperor would have escaped! Unlikely bordering on without a chance. Luke may not have accomplished anything in Return of the Jedi, but he did rightly point out that “overconfidence” was the Emperor’s greatest weakness. Remember, this is the same Emperor who confidently proclaimed the Death Star’s shield generator was untouchable because it was defended by “An entire legion of my best troops.” This, I should note, is the same “legion” that would be ruthlessly massacred by a bunch of teddy bears with Toys-R-Us bows and arrows.

No, the emperor was going down with the Death Star Grand Moff Tarkin-style with or without Luke Darth Vader’s help.

2. He Almost Gets Han Solo Killed and then Fails to Save Him

The Empire Strikes Back is one of the best movies ever made, yet it’s almost hard to describe just how incredibly useless Luke is in it. First, he displays an incredible lack of self awareness and lets a massive wampa get within two feet of him before noticing. This embarrassing attempt at patrolling (and patrolling for what I might ask) lead to the pointless death of a completely innocent tauntaun.

The heroic Han Solo then must risk his life during an ice storm on an ice planet in order to save Luke. Another tauntaun dies pointlessly.

Then after the Rebel base is invaded Luke disobeys a direct order and flies off to Dagobah instead of joining the rest of the Rebel fleet. Luke has some vague premonitions about bad things happening to Han, Leia and Chewie, so he flies off to Bespin to save his friends… and fails again.

3. His Incompetence Gets His Copilot and Wingman Murdered

It would make sense for Leia to entrust Luke with leading the defense of the Rebel base on Hoth. I’m pretty confident it wasn’t just twinsestial nepotism at work here. I mean, after all, this guy blew up the Death Star (only because Han saved his ass, of course). But Luke might as well have been the M Night Shyamalan of a galaxy far far away a long time ago. You might be able to forgive The Happening, but after The Last Airbender, you can pretty much conclude that The Sixth Sensewas a fluke.

So Luke leads said defense and, as we should expect, he does so in the dumbest way possible and fails miserably. Those AT-AT walkers have a firing radius of like 10 degrees. So Luke decides to fly straight at them. Come at them from above or behind or from the side! I mean, for love of the force, I’m surprised he didn’t try spinning, because you know, that’s a good trick.

So Luke flies straight at them. His wingman and copilot are both slaughtered mercilessly and die horrible deaths due to this oversight. There blood is on your hands Luke.

And yes, I know, he blows up one AT-AT walker. This feat winds up providing the Rebels an extra no time to escape. So what? The Visit got relatively decent reviews. That doesn’t even come close to making up for After Earth.

4. He Somehow Becomes a Jedi By Failing Every Test He’s Given

Becoming a master of whatever usually requires passing some sort of test or evaluation. Well, let’s evaluate Luke’s performance during his Jedi training:

– He crash lands his X-Wing in a swamp.
– He mistakes Yoda for some creepy, swamp creature then bitches and moans while the nice little gremlin offers him food and shelter. Yoda then rejects Luke as a protege and is only convinced to change his mind by a pathological liar’s ghost.
– Yoda instructs Luke not to take his weapons into the cave. Like any spoiled brat would, Luke disregards this instruction and fails again.
– Luke neglects his crashed X-Wing and lets it sink into the swamp. Yoda instructs him to use the force to get it out. Luke does not and fails miserably.
– Luke can’t handle some premonitions about the future and drops Yoda on his head. When 800 years old you become, this type of fall could result in serious injury.
– Luke then ignores the advice of both his mentors because of said premonitions and flies off in the ship that Yoda got out of the swamp for him.

Then after getting his ass kicked by Darth Vader, he comes back and Yoda tells him that “no more training do you require?” Say what? Apparently you become a Jedi by failing at everything.

5. He Puts the Whole Rebellion at Risk By Walking Into a Blatantly Obvious Trap…

As mentioned above, after failing to stop or even slow down the imperial attack on Hoth and failing every test Yoda gives him, he flies off to fail at saving Han, Leia and Chewie. This was about the most reckless thing he could have done. Our selfish hero puts his friends above the wellbeing of all the other five hundred quadrillion people in the galaxy.

After all, he does exactly what Darth Vader and the Emperor want him to do. While Luke turned out to be completely useless after A New Hope, from what he could gather at the time, he was the Rebels last chance. And if he turned to the Dark Side, that would be it for those who strived for intergalactic peace and prosperity. Both his mentors told him this, but he ignored them. Indeed, while Luke was able to escape from Darth Vader, he was only able to do so by putting the friends he cared about so much at extreme risk by forcing them to turn around and come back to the occupied Cloud City they had just escaped from.

He also abandoned his X-Wing, which was surely a very expensive piece of equipment the Rebellion had entrusted him with. I can tell you this, Wedge Antilles would have never abandoned his X-Wing.

The only good thing you could say about Luke here is that Darth Vader sacrificed one of his Star Destroyers in that asteroid belt because he was so dead set on finding Luke. So the mere fact Luke existed took down a Star Destroyer. Well done Mr. Skywalker.

6. …Twice

Luke couldn’t just rest on his laurels of having indirectly been responsible for the destruction of one Star Destroyer. So, in Return of the Jedi, instead of taking part in the space battle and despite knowing that there had to be a high likelihood that Darth Vader would be on or near Death Star part deux and would be able to sense Luke’s presence, Luke comes with the real heroes of Episodes V and VI to Endor anyways.

I don’t know, perhaps Wedge didn’t trust Luke as a wingman given he had gotten his previous wingman mercilessly killed on Hoth. Or perhaps the Rebellion wouldn’t give Luke another X-Wing after he had carelessly lost the last one. Maybe it would have been better to just sit this one out Luke.

And yes, Vader and the Emperor knew the Rebels were coming, but Luke didn’t know that. Instead he chose to recklessly put the Rebellion at risk of complete defeat once again.

7. He Massacres a Bunch of People (and Gamorreans) in a Stupid and Unnecessarily Convoluted Plan to Save Han

But Luke saved Han from Jabba the Hutt you say? Technically, this is true. But it was done through a pointless and easily avoidable blood bath. Furthermore, the plan would have been something even Jar Jar Binks would have been mesa ashamed to come up with.

Let’s analyze Luke’s magnificent plan to save the man who had saved him twice before.

Step 1. Lando will sneak into Jabba’s palace and do nothing.

Step 2. C-3PO and R2-D2 will go to Jabba’s palace and willingly become Jabba’s slaves for no reason.

Step 3. Leia will sneak into Jabba’s palace and threaten to blow it all up. If Jabba calls her bluff, the fall back plan is for her to become Jabba’s sex slave.

Step 4. Luke will then go to Jabba’s palace and use his Jedi mind tricks on Jabba (which fails). Then, again displaying a complete lack of self awareness, will get dropped into a Rancor pit. He will use a rock (instead of the force) to shut the door on top of the Rancor only to be sent off to be digested to death along with all of his friends in a giant vagina in the middle of the desert.

Step 5. Luke will assume that he will be the first pushed off the plank into the giant desert vagina, but he will have strategically given R2-D2 a light saber that R2-D2 will fire into the air so Luke can catch it and defeat all of Jabba’s henchman. What if Jabba had left R2-D2 at the palace? No worries, Jabba brings him along and all works out just dandy.

Except no one ever stopped to ask just how many of Jabba’s henchmen were just slaves or desperate people/Gamorreans who couldn’t find any other work in the depressed Tatooine economy and reluctantly agreed to work for Jabba as a last resort to put food on their family’s table? We’ll never know for sure, but Luke and company murdered them all the same.

Even after Jabba is killed, his friends rescued and the day inexplicably won, Luke just has to ruthlessly destroy Jabba’s barge and kill everyone on it. His blood lust is simply unquenchable.

But was there another option to all this carnage? Of course there was. In like the very next scene we see a massive Rebel fleet with X-Wings and Y-Wings and Mon Calamari Cruisers and all sorts of the other ships that geeks like me can name. All they needed to do was park a few of them in orbit above Tatooine and demand Jabba release Han or they’d blow his whole palace to smithereens. Jabba may have been stubborn, but is anyone stubborn enough to decline such an ultimatum? Unlikely. However, this option was too reasonable for Luke. And as a deleted scene from The Return of the Jedi makes clear, yes, the nonsensical blood orgy was all Luke’s plan.


So to recap, if Luke had taken out the first Death Star Kamikasi-style, nothing much would have happened differently. The Empire would have attacked the Rebel base on Hoth. Han, Leia and Chewie would have escaped and not been chased and brutally tortured by the Empire. Many Bothams would have died providing intel to the Rebellion. Han and Leia would have knocked out the shield generator. Wedge Antiles would have blown up the main power regulator on the north tower (is there a north in space?) and even if Lando hadn’t joined the Rebellion, someone else could have put the last nail in the second Death Star’s coffin. The Death Star blows up, the Emperor blows up, the Rebels win and that is that…

Wait a minute… maybe Luke did actually do something important post-Episode IV…

Right before Han and Chewie are going to be burned to death by Paddington and friends, Luke uses his Jedi powers to trick them into believing C-3PO is a god and gets them released. We’ll leave aside the question as to why he waited until they were literally lighting the fire under our real hero to do something like this. But nevertheless, Luke did save his comrades this one time as well as enlisted a primitive tribe of spear-wielding, Care Bears into the cause of the Rebel alliance which somehow turned the tide to defeat the Galactic Empire.

I take it all back. Thank you for saving the galaxy Luke…Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Andrew Syrios

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