Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)..Photo: John Wilson..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Luke Skywalker (The Last Jedi)
Even for folks that disliked Luke’s arc in The Last Jedi, it’s impossible to argue it was better in The Force Awakens. Luke had no dialogue in The Force Awakens and didn’t show up until the very end of the film. He still has a huge influence on the story, but in that movie he’s basically a Macguffin everyone wants to find.
A mega-powered Luke who obliterated Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader Snoke, and the First Order might’ve been entertaining to watch, except it would be uninteresting and inconsistent from a character development perspective.
It feels much more real and it’s far more fascinating for Luke to be overcome by the weight of his failure as a mentor and as a Jedi. It would’ve been boring and too easy for Rey to be taught by a sage individual like countless Jedi and protagonists before her. Like other characters in the film–and similar to real life–Luke is only able to confront his failure through Yoda’s advice.
Instead of continuing to torture himself over the failures, Luke finally accepts them and uses them to grow.
His final stand on Crait is the purest embodiment of Jedi teachings. The Resistance, Rey, and the future of the Jedi live on because of Luke’s sacrifice. His Force projection is ultimately non-violent, rekindles hope for the galaxy, and teaches Kylo Ren one last invaluable lesson.
Afterwards, Luke is finally at peace and becomes one with the Force.
No ending could’ve been more noble and true to what it really to be a Jedi. Even if you disagree with this reasoning, it sure beats his extremely limited role in The Force Awakens.