I’ve joked about “Kenobi Guilt Mode,” Luke isolating himself after his padawan’s destructive descent just like Obi-Wan did, still dressed in the uniform of his failure (don’t even get me started on the very deliberate and Alec Guinness-way Mark Hamill flicked back the hood of his robe) but I don’t want Episode VIII to be Rey pulling Luke back from that. I don’t want Rey to have to convince Luke of anything. Don’t give me a Luke who’s really just Obi-Wan reincarnate, cryptic and weary with guilt and a little bit of a jerk by way of his self-imposed exile.
Give me Luke, the golden boyking Jedi Knight (well, perhaps not a boyking anymore), but older and wiser. Can’t you imagine Luke – with all that bleeding-heart compassion he carried around, the way he saw goodness in everyone – as Jedi Master?
Give me a Luke who, yes, feels remorse and guilt for what happened with Ben but who uses that. Give me a Luke who is still unafraid of his emotions; a Luke who continues to embrace his emotions, even the fear and anger Yoda cautioned against, and find constructive ways to use them. Give me a Luke who saw his padawans and their training as a precious responsibility and still sees them as such, no matter how long they’ve been under the thrall of the Dark Side.
Give me a Luke who left everything and everyone when Kylo Ren was born and went looking for the Jedi Temple because he was seeking something that would help save his nephew. Give me a Luke who has spent the last 15 years trying to get his sister her family back. Give me a Luke who didn’t know where [his daughter/niece/youngest padawan] Rey was taken and has been trying to search for her for years without drawing unwanted attention; who wanted to find her without endangering her so instead of looking outright he Force-pushed images of his home into her dreams so she would come find him instead.
Give me a Luke who looks at this girl, trembling with fear and confusion and resolve and holding his father’s lightsaber, and says yes, yes, of course I will teach you, let’s start right now. Give me a Luke who listens to Rey, to what she’s been through and what she can already do, and doesn’t dismiss any of her experience. Give me a Luke who takes the survival skills that Rey has already learned and helps her adapt them to her Force abilities so they work in tandem. Give me a Luke who tells her that if she ever wants to make her own saber they can modify the hilt so it’s longer and more comfortable for her staff-ready grip. Give me a Luke who remembers what it is to shoulder a destiny you never expected and lends Rey the guidance and support he had only sporadically from Jedi masters so bogged down in their traditions and failures that he had to stand in defiance of them anyway.
Give me a Luke who doesn’t shrug off Rey’s presence or oppose going back to the Resistance because his sister needs him and when has he ever not gone to her aid? Give me a Luke who is gutted by Han’s death, just absolutely devastated by the loss of his friend and whatever part he may have had in it due to Ben’s fall, but is motivated by the loss as well: this has gone on long enough, I cannot sit idly by any longer, I must fix this. Give me a Luke who looks at Rey and sees himself: a girl who longs for family, brimming with power she doesn’t understand, desperate to help those who have befriended her.
Give me a Luke who sees Rey standing on the cliff with a lightsaber in hand and says, “I have waited so long for you; come, we must begin.”