Luke Week: “Who is Luke Skywalker?” or, How I Learned to Stop Caring Who’s Related to Whom in The Force Awakens

Second Look is Eleven-ThirtyEight’s biannual tradition of highlighting some of our most interesting older pieces. In recognition of Luke Skywalker’s electrifying return to the saga in The Last Jedi, this time around we’ve declared it Luke Week! Every day this week you’ll find a different piece taking a closer look at Luke’s character and legacy—some recent, some less so—back on our front page for another moment in the spotlight. – Mike, EIC


It’s December, and we are officially less than twenty days from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you’re like me, you’re juggling work, the holidays, the inescapable excitement of the upcoming film, and some kind of re-watch of the first two trilogies (with perhaps some Clone Wars sprinkled in). And you’re doing it with friends – friends with questions about why and how the Republic fell, where exactly Darth Vader falls in the Imperial hierarchy, the relative autonomy and purpose of a protocol droid, and, naturally, where the new characters of The Force Awakens fit into the sprawling scheme that is the galaxy far, far away – and who they’re related to.

It’s not the easiest question to answer. You could recite the talking points given to the actors, or quote director JJ Abrams’ cryptic but brief epilogues for Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren. You could also launch into an explanation of the plot, uncovered and expounded upon over the course of the year by the spoiler community, or instead pivot to fan theory and speculation about who’s related to whom, some strong but some still very silly (Finn is NOT Lando’s son, folks).

Or you can share what I’ve been saying recently: it doesn’t matter, because they are all some version of Luke Skywalker.

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