The most interesting heroes in films are often relatively flawed and make their fair share of mistakes. Much like in real life (where lightsabres and AT-AT’s sadly do not exist) it’s these mistakes which help us to learn and grow. This brings us to Luke Skywalker, who is undoubtedly one of the most popular and beloved heroes in the entire Star Wars universe, but is also among the biggest screwups in the history of cinema.
Stick around and hear us out. There just might be a collectable Boba Fett PEZ dispenser in it for you… though probably not.
Many Star Wars fans base Luke’s unequivocal awesomeness on the grounds that he blew up the first Death Star. However, let’s not forget that he only achieved that feat thanks to Han Solo's timely assistance and with Obi-Wan in his ear, all “Use the Force, Luke.”, and “The Force will be with you, always.” Reportedly, he also added “Luke, zipper up!”, which really saved him some embarrassment at the final award ceremony.
Upon further inspection, Luke’s failures were quite numerous. Frankly we find it surprising that others haven’t picked up on this before. Luke tends to mostly receive praise and adoration but few fans fault Luke for anything outside of his whiny attitude in A New Hope. Our intention is to boldly shatter Luke’s near perfect image with the following notable examples of his biggest fails throughout the Star Wars saga.
Sandpeople / Cantina FAIL
Prior to even stepping foot in the Cantina of Doom, Luke was saved by Obi-Wan from Sandpeople who had viscously attacked him. It should be noted however that the attack in question only went down because Luke had carelessly removed a restraining bolt from R2 which allowed him to run off in the first place.
That brush with death behind him, Luke (accompanied by his unruly droids and his crazy new bodyguard Obi-Wan Kenobi) set out on an epic journey. However, since farmboys and retired Jedi are incapable of saving the galaxy without a cool ride, their first task on the “to do” list was to locate a pilot and a ship. And so they headed to Mos Eisley spaceport…
Once inside the most infamous Cantina in movie history Obi-Wan proceeded to work his magic. Luke meanwhile innocently sat down at the bar and ordered a drink to grow some hair on his chest.
Apparently, Obi-Wan underestimated Luke’s ability to not get himself killed when left on his own. Literally the second Obi-Wan turned his back, Luke was having serious problems. He was immediately confronted by two rather nasty “wanted men” who allegedly had the death sentence on twelve systems.
Naturally, Obi-Wan was forced to step in again and save Luke as if he were a bullied child on the receiving end of a wedgie.
For Luke, having to be saved would become a reoccurring theme of the franchise. In this instance we won’t give Luke too much grief for this particular fail. He had no training at this point and had just abandoned the charred husks of his Aunt and Uncle (it was a really crappy day). Still, we can’t help but wonder how he managed to survive that long without Obi-Wan directly serving as his personal guardian angel.
Wampa (Snow Monster) FAIL
Stumbling into deadly situations and having to be rescued became Luke’s trademark in the next Star Wars film. Although Luke survived the first movie on a high note, his crappy luck returned with a vengeance in Empire Strikes Back. While out and about on the frigid ice planet of Hoth, Luke was attacked and nearly killed by a massive snow beast (a Wampa, for those playing Star Wars Creature Bingo) within five minutes of the movie starting.
Luke was then promptly dragged to the monster’s cave, hung upside down and left to dangle until supper-time. That supper would consist entirely of him…with a dash of salt.
Luke at least managed to free himself once he regained consciousness. He clumsily maimed the Wampa but instead of courageously finishing off the beast and remaining inside the cave (to perhaps avoid the deadly cold exposure) he instead mindlessly ran back out into the freezing cold weather. Clearly, basic Jedi survival instincts skip a generation.
In any case, he nearly froze to death before being saved by Han Solo who was forced to stuff him into the stomach of a dead Taun-Taun to keep warm.
NERD SIDE-NOTE: It was rumored for years that the reason for the inclusion of the Wampa scene was to explain Mark Hammil’s scarred face. In reality, Mark had wrecked his car, fracturing his nose and cheekbone, but the Wampa attack was already in the script by that point. George Lucas explained in a DVD commentary that the scene was merely meant to keep the audience interested while the Empire searched for the rebels. Unfortunately for Luke’s character, they didn’t bother coming up with a more heroic mini-adventure that didn’t leave him looking like a tool.
Yoda Training FAIL(s)
Luke’s training sequences with Yoda and their enlightening (pre-midichlorine) dialogue on the Force remain the highpoint of the Star Wars saga. In those memorable scenes on the swampy world of Dagobah we saw genuine emotion, subtle bits of humor and astounding moments of awe.
There were, however, an alarming series of failures on Luke’s part during his stay on Dagobah. The first occurred when Luke basically acted like a complete douche towards Yoda, who was initially playing the part of a goofy alien. Yoda’s comical charade was merely a clever attempt to test Luke’s patience. Nevertheless, Luke predictably got all hissy and whiny and in doing so caused Yoda to reconsider training him. Luckily Obi-Wan stepped in (from the grave) and vouched for Luke.
One would think that after the lame first impression Luke gave Yoda he’d have been on his best behavior from then on. Nope! As the training progressed Luke annoyed Yoda with nagging questions and even dropped him flat on his 900 year old fanny during a wacky balancing act of some sort. Moments later, Luke whined about not being able to raise his ship from the swampy waters (a ship he crash landed). Yoda urged him on and Luke once again proceeded to…
Then there was the bafflingly creepy slow motion cave scene. As it turned out, that odd hallucination was also a test for Luke… which he failed. Luke fittingly capped off his atrocious record by hastily running off without completing his training. Although Luke wanted to “save his friends”, he ignored warnings from both Yoda and the ghost of Obi-Wan. You’d think the physical manifestation of a person who saved your life, advised and aided you from the beyond and kick started your entire journey would be someone you’d stop and listen to. Anyway, that sad string of fails led us to Luke’s next chapter…