Legends of Luke Skywalker Review and Analysis

Written by robotical712.

Legends of Luke Skywalker came out one week ago and has provided a fascinating look at an important question – how other people view Luke Skywalker in-universe. At first glance this may seem superfluous, why do we care what other people think? Give us stories from Luke’s point of view! However, in the context of The Last Jedi, this is an important question as our heroine, Rey, only knows what she’s heard from stories. Indeed, those stories led her to believe he was a myth just a short time before she stood before him in person. Rey goes to Luke expecting a legend. While the stories in the book may be subject to exaggeration, hearsay or outright fabrication, they do provide us valuable information about Luke and the setting as a whole.

The framing story is a cargo ship of questionable legality on its way to Canto Bite and its crew swapping stories about Luke. The deckhands are the focus and are twelve to early teens (this is a kid’s book after all), although the ship’s older crew provide some of the stories. The framing story is largely built around helping a stowaway escaped slave and the stories provide the inspiration. The real focus however, are the individual stories and here I’ll look at each:


The Myth Buster

The first of the six is an amusing story of the ship’s cook, Dwoogan, retelling a conspiracy theory she once heard from an ex-Imperial engineer in a cantina. According to the engineer, everything claimed about the Death Star destroying Alderaan was impossible (the Empire planted charges instead) and Luke, Han and Obi-Wan were con-artists who helped the Rebel Alliance get a propaganda victory. While the centerpiece is the conspiracy theory, the real meat of this story is found in patrons in the cantina, particularly one who appears to be Luke himself. Amused to hear about himself, Luke actively encourages the theorist, including buying them dinner.

The theorist disparages Luke and his family, but Luke makes no move to counter. When the cook asks why he did not, he states to do so would be to seek adulation and the truth of their actions is all that matters. Therein lies the true point of the story – Luke seeks to help, but expects nothing in return.

Notes:

This chapter has several contradictory statements which make timing difficult to pin down. The narrator states she had just arrived after tangling with Imperial customs patrols. However, she also refers to Luke possessing a graying beard, General Leia and the Battle of Jakku. The Empire had completely collapsed by the time the first two would have occurred. Given these inconsistencies, it’s possible substantial parts of the story are embellished.

Odds and Ends:

Hilariously, this chapter makes Darth Jar Jar an in-universe conspiracy theory:

“Speaking of Naboo sardine fritters, did you know that Senator Jar Jar Binks and Lord Vader were the same person?”

Liu, Ken. Journey to Star Wars The Last Jedi: The Legends of Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) (Kindle Locations 382-383). Disney Book Group. Kindle Edition.


The Starship Graveyard

Ulina, the ship’s captain tells the next story that she had been passed between smuggling crews of Luke’s visit to Jakku as experienced by an Imperial gunner.

As a young man, the subject was a gunner aboard a Star Destroyer during the Battle of Jakku. In the course of the battle, his ship takes substantial damage and he’s badly injured. As the ship falls toward the planet, the gunner hallucinates Luke using the Force to hurl Star Destroyers toward Jakku. Severely injured, a man the downed Imperial realizes is Luke himself rescues him and eventually takes him to the wrecked research facility. After a downed Star Destroyer reactor blows, Luke rescues trapped scavengers from the ruined complex. Each scavenger gives him a piece of salvage and Luke sets the narrator a Imperial homing beacon before leaving.

The key takeaway here is Luke’s compassion even towards his enemies. He goes through extraordinary effort to rescue the Imperial who spends most of the story resisting him and eventually rescues a number of trapped scavengers.

Notes:

Given the number of smuggler crews the story went through before the retelling we get and the Imperial’s fever fueled delirium, it’s difficult to determine how much of the story is accurate. It is likely Luke investigated Jakku in the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku, however him looking for normal salvage seems unlikely and we can discount recounting of him hurtling Star Destroyers out of orbit. Despite this there are some notable points in the story:

  1. Luke was probably on Jakku in the immediate aftermath of the battle.
  2. We learn there were rumors the Imperial Royal Guard were occasionally observed at the research facility.
  3. The state of the research facility itself corroborates other Canon sources stating it had been blown.
  4. In Before the Awakening, Rey visits a large expanse of broken glass which was the result of a massive ship exploding. In this story, we get to see how such a region was created.
  5. Luke receives several items as thanks from the scavengers: power cells, crystals (likely kybers), an intricate droid hand and compass from Pillio.

Two indicates whatever purpose the research facility had, it was of great interest to Emperor Palpatine. Unfortunately, we have no indication of whether the guards were observed after Endor. The compass of five is of interest because Luke reportedly has such an artifact in The Last Jedi and its origin, Pillio, appears in the upcoming Battlefront II as a location Luke visits (and also has one of the Emperor’s Observatories). Also of interest are the droid hand and crystals, but no further information is available about them. Given the highly questionable providence of this story and any visit’s importance, it’s likely we’ll see Luke’s travels on Jakku covered in future stories.

Odds and Ends:

  • The narrator and Luke shelter in a downed immobilizer cruiser at one point.
  • At one point Luke investigates a fallen AT-AT.

Fishing in the Deluge

My favorite of the six and one that offers quite a bit in terms of our knowledge about the setting. This story is told by a woman Teal, a fifteen year old deckhand, finds stowing away aboard the ship. The woman is an escaped slave, but is from a distant world named Lew’el. While never made explicit, it’s heavily implied the woman was in fact the subject of the story – a twelve year old human girl named Aya.

Aya is one of the people from her village who rides giant, trained birds to fish. By ‘following the Tide’, her people’s name for the Force, Aya can trap fish much larger than herself. On one such expedition with her twin brother (also Force sensitive), she catches the largest fish she’s ever seen, but gets trapped in a raging storm which kills her bird. Aya is saved by none other than Luke Skywalker (although they know him as seeker). Luke has come seeking to learn about the villages knowledge of the Force, but the village elder (also Aya’s grandmother) refuses.

Luke persists and asks to be given the same tests as the children of the village. The elder relents and allows him to take the tests. The first he passes using an unorthodox method and the elder tasks Aya with guiding him in the second – navigating the globe aboard one of the birds. The two learn about the Force from one another, but Luke struggles when presented with the final task – catching a fish with a kilometer long pole. Luke keeps attempting to manipulate the Force to catch his fish and fails repeatedly. It turns out the point of the challenge is to trust the Force to guide you without your intervention. After Aya explains it to him, Luke succeeds, but the fish is too large and Luke is forced to free it and accept failure. However, Luke has largely learned what the elder would have taught and he leaves. Aya vows to leave her world and see the galaxy.

Notes:

Aside from Luke rescuing Aya and allowing the fish to escape despite it meaning he fails his test, this story tells us something other than about Luke’s compassion. Luke’s continued willingness and interest in learning about the Force is evident here, but so is his greatest weakness – trusting the Force and those around him to do things right. While he does eventually let go to catch the fish, it’s apparent from a later story he still struggles with this lesson.

There are virtually no clues as to the timing of this story except Teal identifying Flux as a few years older than herself. However, as will be seen from a reference in the final story, either Flux isn’t Aya or she’s much older than Teal thinks. Flux remains on Canto Bight and it’s a good possibility we’ll see her in The Last Jedi. Perhaps in the background whenever Maz makes an appearance.

I covered this last week, but this story contains a lot of lore implications. The population of the world are humans descended from Force sensitive refugees from thousands of years prior. This is our first direct evidence of the Force consistently being passed on from generation to generation over in a human population and therefore highly heritable. This is also our first direct indication that there were Force using groups preceding the Jedi.

The villager’s ancestors were used by those seeking power and took part on both sides of terrible wars. Seeking to avoid being used in struggles for power, they settled on Lew’el and developed a philosophy around non-interference. They can use the Force to guide them, but may not ever direct it. Luke initially argues against this philosophy, but comes to realize direct confrontation isn’t the only way to stand against evil. Sometimes showing there is another way is sufficient.

Odds and Ends:

  • Luke spends about a month here, mostly circumnavigating the world with Aya.
  • Aya’s grandmother is adamant there aren’t two opposed sides, just the ebb and flow of the tide. However, the final story does suggest something is wrong.
  • Aya is not present for Luke’s conversation with her grandmother. It’s unclear where the recounting came from.

I, Droid

This story is told by the ship’s astromech droid, G2-X, and tells of a time Luke rescued a large number of enslaved droids. The narrator, a construction droid, is stolen from her work-site by raiders who put her to work as an enforcer in gem mines that are far too dangerous for lifeforms to work in. The droids are stolen from across the galaxy and work until the conditions of the mines inevitably destroys them over several months. In the course of the story, Artoo winds up as one of the stolen droids and Luke masquerades as a protocol droid to rescue him. Adverse to destroying any droids, Luke learns and uses a method of disabling a chip meant to force the droid’s cooperation. The freed droids shut down the droid-slaver operation and escape the system, passing the story from droid to droid.

The clear takeaway here is Luke’s compassion also extends to droids. He infiltrates the operation at high risk to himself, avoids destroying any more than necessary and frees all of the droids.

Notes:

While there is little in the story itself to date it, Luke’s rough skills with the Force and the accompanying picture’s depiction of him with a blue saber place this some time before ESB. Second, the sentient nature of droids and their rights is brought up. This has been a recurring theme in Canon and something to watch.

Odds and Ends:

* While pretending to be a protocol droid, Luke mentions Senator Amidala of Naboo was an accomplished poet. Given the timing of the story, it’s unlikely he knows she’s his mother.

The Tale of Lugubrious Mote

This story is a retelling of the Luke and company’s mission to rescue Han from Jabba. It’s told from the perspective of a sentient flea who takes credit for guiding Luke to defeat the Rancor and in the battle over the Sarlac. While amusing (particularly the mote’s indignation at Luke’s belief that the mote is the Force talking to him) and a reinforcement of ‘size matters not’, it’s ultimately pretty superfluous and my least favorite of the six.

Based on the placing of various inconsistencies, it’s likely the mote was present, but only as an observer.


Big Inside

Big Inside is my second favorite story and the final of the book. In it, the twelve-year-old deckhand, G’kolu, relates the story he once heard from a biologist of her days as a graduate student. After doing some work for her professors, the student does the equivalent of space-hitchhiking and Luke answers her request. The two talk a bit before investigating some strange lights that disappear into a cave. It turns out the cave is a space worm like the one encountered in ESB. After exploring the insides of the ‘exogorth’, the pair come across what look like three statues. It turns out these were three ancient Force users who were trapped in the worm and figured out how to place themselves in a time ‘cocoon’ with the Force. Luke learns they can help them out, but must sacrifices themselves. After going through a range of emotions Luke finds acceptance and agrees, destroying the cocoon. The three expel use the pent-up temporal energy and help Luke and biology student escape.

In this story we see Luke’s continued compassion, first towards a mynock colony they have to fight through to escape. Luke reluctantly kills when he has to, but when another method presents itself, he eagerly uses it to distract the colony. The second is his difficulty accepting the three trapped Force users must sacrifice themselves to escape and seeks another way, but eventually accepts it as the only way. This is also the first time we’ve seen the interior of a space worm and the ecosystem within is used as a metaphor for the symbiotic nature Force and microbes living in the human body.

Notes:

The timing of this story is particularly interesting. Luke is described as having a beard and the corresponding pictures seems to depict him in his late twenties or early thirties. Further, he’s using an A-Wing he modified to have a second seat (ostensibly because he got lonely in his travels), but lacks a space for Artoo. The student observes he’s apparently been using it for some time. There’s also a clear reference to Fishing the Deluge, despite the teller not being present for the earlier story:

“There are patterns in the Force, like the rise and fall of the tide,” he said. Maybe he was talking to himself; maybe he was talking to me.

Kindle Locations 2786-2787

The reference helps determine the chronology of the earlier story and indicates either Flux isn’t Aya or she’s more than a few years older than Teal (likely the latter, the text consistently refers to her as a woman).

One of Luke’s weaknesses is again referenced here – his continued difficulty trusting the Force without his intervention. As this was the flaw that led him to blunder in ESB, something he still struggled with in Fishing the Deluge and admits he still has here it’s likely this will play a major role in how he got to where he is when Rey finds him at the end of The Force Awakens.

The final and most intriguing bit is the three Force users, who identify themselves as ‘Weavers of the Luminous Mist’ – acolytes who traveled the galaxy and “create glowing portraits of the Mist’s all-encompassing magnificence” (Loc. 2692). They’re described as a human and two insectoid aliens and have been there for an incredibly long period of time. Besides adding the ability to manipulate time with the Force, it also further establishes the existence of groups of Force users predating the Jedi. However, the most intriguing bit is from what the Weaver’s ostensibly say to Luke (it’s not stated how the student knows what the Weavers said):

“Yes, I sense it, too,” said Awglk. “I’ve never seen such a bright Mist Heart. It’s more brilliant than a thousand suns.”

We admired the Bright-Heart for a while, and then I noticed something else.

“I sense a rot in the Mist,” I said. It had been millennia since we last gazed outside the cocoon into the grand, Mist-filled universe. “There are…so many holes in the Mist. A darkness has come and corrupted it.”

The pain of watching our beloved Mist so debased was wrenching. “Bright-Heart means to restore the beauty of the Mist,” I said.

Kindle Locations 2716-2721

The section affirms Luke’s power and innate goodness, but the most interesting part is what they sense in the Force itself – a rot. This strongly implies the Force is not in it’s natural state – it’s somehow been corrupted. Between the time of the weavers and the present, something or someone twisted the Force.

Odds and Ends:

  • The student does not recognize either Luke’s name or realize who he is from talking to him or when he uses the Force. This is rather surprising considering how well known he’s supposed to be.
  • Luke helps the student out of her despair by getting her talking about biology at one point.

Conclusion:

All in all, this was a very good book and well worth the read. Besides having some well told stories, it provides a lot to chew on as we head into The Last Jedi. The weaver’s observation of the sickness in the Force gives strong support to some ideas I’ve been considering for a while. I’ll be writing an article laying them out soon.

Robotical712’s Next Review: Star Wars: Bloodline


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