Luke Skywalker (19 BBY—) was the son of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, and the older twin brother of Leia Organa Solo. He was a Jedi Master and hero of the Galactic Civil War. A celebrated pilot and leader, Skywalker was most famous for destroying the first Death Star and prompting Darth Vader to kill Emperor Palpatine, which led to the eventual downfall of the Galactic Empire.
He was a key member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and later became an influential, widely known member of the New Republic and a prominent Jedi Master. Skywalker turned away from the life of a soldier to establish the Jedi Praxeum to train a new Jedi Order to serve as guardians and peacekeepers in the Republic. Later in his life he also married fellow Jedi Mara Jade, with whom he had a son, Ben Skywalker.
Early life (19 to 1 BBY)
Luke Skywalker was born on the asteroid colony of Polis Massa shortly after the start of the Great Jedi Purge and the foundation of the Galactic Empire. Mere seconds after the birth of Luke's younger sister, Leia, Amidala died, essentially orphaning both children. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda knew the children, both Force-strong, had to be protected from the Emperor and their fallen father. Deciding it would be best if they were separated, the two Jedi Masters agreed to send the infant boy to live with his father's stepbrother, Owen Lars, and his wife, Beru, on Tatooine. Leia was sent to live under the protection of her newly-adopted parents, Bail and Breha Organa. For additional protection, Kenobi chose to go into hiding on Tatooine and live near the boy in order to watch over him as he grew.
As an orphan, Skywalker lived on Tatooine for the first nineteen years of his life, where his uncle tried unsuccessfully to discourage all of Skywalker's tendencies towards becoming a Jedi like his father. When prompted with inquiries about his father's involvement in the Clone Wars, Lars told him that his father had been "a navigator on a spice freighter." Despite this lie, he was still an adventure-seeking youth, whether he was piloting his Incom T-16 Skyhopper through Beggar's Canyon, racing his landspeeder, looking after droids, or fixing the moisture vaporators. Skywalker possessed talents in droid repair, piloting, and the Force, making him very much his father's son.
He gained a large group of friends while living on Tatooine, including Tank, Camie and Fixer, who mostly had the same dreams of joining the Imperial Academy and becoming pilots that Skywalker himself had. Biggs Darklighter was perhaps Skywalker's closest friend, whom he looked up to as almost a brother figure. Biggs left for the Academy in 1 BBY, much to Skywalker's dismay. As more of Skywalker's friends left the planet to follow their dreams, he became increasingly frustrated that his uncle would not allow him to leave the planet, claiming that he still needed help with the farm.
The Galactic Civil War (0 to 4 ABY)
The purchase of two droids by Skywalker's uncle changed the youth's life forever. With the discovery of a desperate message within the astromech droid, R2-D2, Skywalker soon found himself in the company of Ben Kenobi, who revealed to the younger man that he had once been a Jedi Knight who served with Skywalker's father, Anakin, another Jedi Knight.
When Skywalker discovered that his aunt and uncle had been murdered by Imperial stormtroopers looking for R2-D2 and C-3PO, he agreed to accompany Kenobi to Alderaan to deliver the astromech - who was carrying the plans to the Death Star - to Bail Organa at the behest of Organa's daughter, Leia. The two traveled to Mos Eisley to obtain passage off Tatooine and met Han Solo and his first mate, Chewbacca.
After escaping stormtroopers and blasting off the planet in Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon, Kenobi began Skywalker's instruction in the ways of the Force. This teaching, however, was soon interrupted by their arrival in the Alderaan system and their discovery of the planet's destruction. They were soon captured by the Death Star's tractor beam and brought aboard the space station.
Once onboard, Kenobi separated from Skywalker, Solo, Chewbacca, and the droids to deactivate the tractor beam. But when R2-D2 discovered that Leia Organa was being held captive, Skywalker insisted on rescuing her. With Solo and Chewbacca's help, the trio made it into the detention area.
Eventually, the group escaped the Death Star, but only after Kenobi sacrificed himself in a duel with Darth Vader. They traveled to the hidden Rebel Base on Yavin IV, even though the Death Star was tracking them.
Skywalker took part in the Battle of Yavin as Red Five. After Solo shot several TIE Fighters off his back and with the assurance of the dead Kenobi, Luke used the Force to direct his proton torpedoes to the correct spot and destroyed the station.
After the destruction of the Death Star, the young Skywalker spearheaded a number of missions for the Rebel Alliance, including seeking out a new world for the Rebels' hidden base. As he was eager to serve the Rebel Alliance, Skywalker's early years were filled with adventures including fighting pirates and bandits though in one mission, he was almost duped by an Imperial plot that employed an actor posing as his dead mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While on a scouting mission, Skywalker's vessel was caught in the hyperwash of a transdimensional cometary body, depositing him onto a barren ice world Hoth. Skywalker had discovered what was to be the site of the Rebels' new base and after returning to the Alliance, he informed his superiors of this isolated world. Not long later, the Rebel Alliance evacuated their outposts on Yavin 4 and Thila to set up a base on Hoth. He later accompanied Princess Leia on a diplomatic mission to the Circarpous system where he first came to face with what he believed was Darth Vader. In actuality, this was a Force illusion and creation, not the real Vader at all, the two would not truly meet until the fateful duel on Bespin. Luke and Vader were both in pursuit of a powerful Force relic, the Kaiburr crystal, and had a duel in the ancient Temple of Pomojema. Guided by the spirit of Kenobi, Skywalker held Vader off, and even managed to sever the Dark Lord's mechanical arm. Shocked, Vader tumbled down a deep pit, and their duel was interrupted.
Desperate to find Skywalker, whom he recently learned was his own son, Vader sent thousands of probe droids across the galaxy in search of the Jedi hopeful and the new Alliance headquarters. When a droid discovered the new base on Hoth, the menacing Vader brought the hammer of the Empire down on the planet. Skywalker played a key role in the defense, including downing an AT-AT single-handedly, and escaped in his X-wing.
Following advice from the spirit of Kenobi, he traveled to Dagobah to learn the Jedi arts under Jedi Master Yoda. The old Jedi Master had little confidence in the young man's potential, but was persuaded to train him by the spirit of Kenobi.
However, not long after he began his training, Skywalker had a vision of his friends being captured by Vader, and against the warnings of Kenobi and Yoda about confronting the Sith Lord prematurely, he traveled to Bespin to save them, only to be trapped by Vader. On Bespin he learned that Vader was his father, and lost his right hand in combat with the Dark Lord of the Sith, mirroring the loss of Vader's right arm almost twenty five years earlier. Faced with this horrifying claim and the even more fearsome temptation to join Vader, Skywalker found the moral courage to choose death instead by throwing himself down a long shaft. However, fate allowed him to survive, and he escaped on the Millennium Falcon.
The aftermath of the Battle of Hoth scattered the Alliance, and Skywalker was stationed at temporary bases on Golrath and Arbra. Ascending to the command of Rogue Squadron, Skywalker fell in love with one of his squadron mates, the talented and enigmatic Shira Brie. During a heated battle with Imperial forces, Skywalker's targeting computer was knocked out of commission, and he instead relied on the Force to pick his targets. Inexplicably, the Force told him to fire on a friendly vessel, and he shot Shira Brie out of the sky. For this, Skywalker was stripped of command and put on trial. As a result, Skywalker's confidence in the Force was shaken. He investigated the matter and discovered that Shira was actually an Imperial agent. Skywalker cleared his name and was reinstated as a Rebel commander. As time passed, Skywalker grew more powerful in the Force, and his exploits in the Alliance gained a higher profile. Skywalker also thwarted several assassination attempts made by Prince Xizor, the head of the Black Sun criminal organization. He was also involved in an Alliance mission to Imperial Center, location of Black Sun's headquarters where he battled Xizor's powerful human replica droid Guri.
Skywalker was the mastermind of the plan of rescuing Solo from Jabba the Hutt. He was accompanied in this task by Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, Leia and the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. Not long after, Skywalker received confirmation from the dying Yoda and the spirit form of Obi-Wan Kenobi that Vader was indeed his father, Anakin Skywalker, a former Jedi Knight who turned to the Dark Side of the Force. Furthermore, Skywalker realized that Leia was his sister and would be in peril if their father found out as well.
Skywalker accompanied his friends on the mission to the forest moon of Endor to knock out the shield generator that protected the Second Death Star in orbit. Not long after, Skywalker surrendered to Vader in an attempt to bring the Dark Lord back to the Light Side, but he ultimately became a prisoner of the Emperor.
Once onboard the Death Star, the Emperor and Vader attempted to corrupt Skywalker with promises to save his friends from their trap if he joined the Dark Side. As a backup idea, the Emperor goaded Skywalker to strike him down to save the Rebels who were being defeated in the Battle of Endor. Skywalker, in a moment of weakness, lashed out but Vader stopped his strike and father and son dueled one another for the last time. Despite the clash, Skywalker managed to keep emotional control, much to the frustration of his enemies. However, that control was lost when Vader telepathically sensed the existence of Skywalker's sister and threatened to concentrate on corrupting her instead. Skywalker attacked Vader with the power of rage, and just managed to regain control before killing him. Realizing that he was able to control himself in the face of the most profound provocation, Skywalker turned to the gloating Emperor. Throwing his lightsaber away, Skywalker declared that he would never turn to the Dark Side and that he was a Jedi, like his father before him.
Enraged, the Emperor unleashed Force-lightning against Skywalker in an attempt to kill the young Jedi. Seeing his son dying, and perhaps remembering the mercy shown him, compassion finally broke through to Vader. In an act of self-sacrifice, Anakin Skywalker re-emerged to destroy the Emperor.
On the deteriorating Death Star, at the foot of Vader's shuttle, Skywalker removed the former Vader's mask and looked upon his father's face for the first and only time before Anakin became one with the Force. Skywalker took his father's body onboard the shuttle and escaped the Death Star's destruction. Back on Endor, Skywalker cremated his father in the manner of a Jedi's funeral, and joined in the celebration of the apparent defeat of the Empire. Thus, Skywalker comes full circle both as a Jedi and as a person.
The day after his duel with Darth Vader at the Battle of Endor, while still recovering from the wounds inflicted by Palpatine's Force-lightning, Skywalker and Wedge Antilles discovered a message droid requesting for help from the beleaguered outpost world Bakura. Skywalker commanded an Alliance mission to the Bakura system, which was under siege by a strange alien race, the Ssi-Ruuk, which used the life force of their captives to power their technology. There Skywalker and Organa negotiated a temporary truce between the Rebel and Imperial forces to help fight off the invasion. The discovery of a Force-sensitive named Dev Sibwarra during the Battle of Bakura fueled Skywalker's conviction for finding others like him in the galaxy. Palpatine and Vader's scourge was not absolute. Surely, he believed, there were Force-users that had escaped the dark times.
In search of a legacy (5 to 24 ABY)
Luke was a vital member of the Alliance of Free Planets and, soon thereafter, the New Republic. He was an agent of the short-lived Senate Planetary Intelligence Network, playing an important role in the defeat of Trioculus and the Central Committee of Grand Moffs. After his excellent tactics defending the Dreadnaught New Hope at Milagro allowed the New Republic to capture an Imperial Star Destroyer (which would later become the Crynyd), Skywalker was promoted to general. However, he greatly disliked military command, and after fighting the forces of Lord Shadowspawn to the last man on the bloody battlefields of Mindor, Skywalker was disgusted with the immense loss of life and resigned his military commission a mere six months after his promotion.
In the years following, Skywalker tried vainly to locate lost and hidden Force-sensitives. This led him to Dathomir, a world of mysterious and powerful Force-wielding witches. On this planet, he discovered the ruins of the Chu'unthor, an ancient Jedi training vessel.
As Skywalker's search intensified, the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi once again visited him. Five years after the Battle of Endor, Kenobi said his final farewell to Skywalker. His spirit would no longer remain with him. Skywalker, feeling alone, realized he was not the last of the old Jedi, but rather, the first of the new.
As the Thrawn campaign began, rumors surfaced of a Jedi Master hidden on the remote world of Wayland. Skywalker investigated and discovered the insane Dark Jedi clone, Joruus C'baoth. Skywalker tried to persuade Joruus C'baoth to renounce the Dark Side. C'baoth's insanity and evil was too deeply rooted to undo, and in his bid to mold Skywalker into his new dark side pupil, C'baoth did the unthinkable. Using Skywalker's severed hand, recovered from Bespin by Imperial agents, C'baoth grew a clone of the young Jedi—Luuke Skywalker—and sent the mindless drone to kill Skywalker. Skywalker eventually defeated C'baoth and the clone.
During this crisis, Skywalker also met Mara Jade. A fiercely determined and highly skilled Force-sensitive warrior, Mara was once a deadly agent of Palpatine. She was one of the "Emperor's Hands," a deadly group of Dark Jedi who could hear the Emperor's call from across the galaxy. Jade held Skywalker responsible for the destruction of her career and purpose, and desired to kill him. Despite repeated opportunities, Jade did not kill Skywalker, and the two worked together to defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn and C'baoth's plans. Putting aside her hatred for him, Mara developed a begrudging respect for the Jedi and his skills.
Although Grand Admiral Thrawn was defeated, his string of victories rallied the Imperial Remnant to stage a spectacular attack on the New Republic-held capital Coruscant. Whereas Thrawn wanted to capture the capital intact, these Imperials attacked without restraint and ravaged the once gleaming metropolis-covered planet. The Republic retreated and Skywalker commanded a number of missions into the Imperial-held world.
Stranded on Coruscant, Skywalker began to discover strange clues in newly opened secret chambers throughout the former Imperial Palace, clues to the Emperor's power. Before he could piece together their significance, a raging Force storm appeared in the sky. The swirling vortex of dimension-altering energy consumed Skywalker, and deposited him in a cell aboard a Mandalorian dungeon ship bound for the Deep Core world of Byss. There, in an ornate citadel, Skywalker faced an enemy he had not ever expected to see again: Emperor Palpatine.
Palpatine's spirit had been staving away death by using arcane Sith knowledge and cloning technology. Palpatine would grow clone duplicates of his own body to serve as tools for his evil life force should his body die. With this technique, Palpatine had escaped death aboard the second Death Star. He called for Skywalker to kneel before him and become his servant. Skywalker, realizing that the Emperor was almost invincible, knelt before him, and agreed to join the Dark Side. Like a few others in recorded history, he believed he could defeat the Dark Side from within by learning its secrets. He had neglected one of Yoda's key teachings—never underestimate the power of the Dark Side. Skywalker worked for the light side in the shadows just like Quinlan Vos had during the Clone Wars. And just like that Jedi Master, he found he was unable to break away from its snare once he was immersed too deeply in it. During this dark apprenticeship, Luke acquired two sentinels, clones mutated into his Dark Side servants. Though he succeeded in covertly sabotaging several of Palpatine's plans including a World Devastator attack on Dac, he was too deep in darkness to think clearly. However, with the help of his sister Leia, Skywalker was able to fight back the darkness before it consumed him and turn against his master, and together, they eventually managed to defeat Palpatine, turning his immense power against him.
But the shadow of the dark side continued to haunt Skywalker. Having seen the sheer number of Force sensitive beings under Palpatine's control, Skywalker was determined to begin rebuilding the Jedi ranks. While a new clone-inhabited Palpatine and his minions rallied at Byss around the new Galaxy Gun, Skywalker raced to Ossus to investigate rumors of an ancient Jedi holocron. As he explored the mysteries of the history-rich world, Skywalker came under attack by a group of Dark Side Elite loyal to capture the holocron for their reborn master.
Establishing a new Jedi order (11 to 30 ABY)
Given the growing dangers in the galaxy, Skywalker felt that the New Republic needed a New Jedi Order to serve and protect the galaxy. He proposed to the government that a new Jedi Academy needed to be started, with himself as its head instructor. The New Republic agreed, and Skywalker began searching in earnest for Jedi candidates to train in the Great Massassi Temple on Yavin 4 where he established his Jedi Praxeum. There, Skywalker returned the Jedi order to the Galaxy, and began to reverse the damage done by Palpatine and Vader decades ago. His students in turn became Masters, and a new generation of Jedi Knights arose. He resigned his commission in the New Republic's starfighter corps to pursue his Jedi studies and rebuild the Jedi Order, a decision some anti-Jedi politicians would use against him.
Skywalker's friendship with Jade grew into admiration, then affection—emotions that were reciprocated. About a decade after their initial hostile encounter, Skywalker and Jade were married on Coruscant. Now, the New Jedi Order faced its greatest challenge. Without the governance of a Jedi Council, the new Jedi Knights lacked unity and focus. Many were accused of reckless vigilantism, and the Republic citizenry began to grow suspicious of their protectors. Worse came the Yuuzhan Vong, extragalactic alien invaders bent on conquest. The Jedi became the first line of defense for the Republic, but their failure to repulse the brutal aliens was widely reported. Strangely, the Yuuzhan Vong did not exist in the Force, thus the Jedi were robbed of their most powerful abilities against this new enemy.
The Yuuzhan Vong took specific interest in the Jedi, proclaiming them the worst of a galaxy full of infidels. Many in the New Republic began to turn against the Jedi in an effort to appease the Yuuzhan Vong and blunt their destructive invasion. Organizations such as the Peace Brigade betrayed the order, and began rounding up Jedi captives for the invaders. The Yuuzhan Vong destroyed the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4. It was as if the dark times of Palpatine's Empire had returned. Skywalker knew that fear, too aggressive a path, would lead his Jedi to the Dark Side. Skywalker engineered an underground fugitive network, dubbed the Great River, and a secret haven called Eclipse, to protect the beleaguered Jedi Knights.
With his beloved wife affected by a Yuuzhan Vong-engineered disease, and his closest friends forever affected by the violence, Skywalker found that not even a Jedi Master could keep galactic events from striking close to his heart.
During these war-ravaged years, Mara became pregnant and gave birth to their son, Ben Skywalker. Keeping his newborn child safe became an important concern. A chilling vision of the Dark Side brought Skywalker to the heart of the Yuuzhan Vong-held Coruscant. In the depths of the altered city planet, Skywalker faced off against Lord Nyax, the deranged mutated Dark Jedi that once was Irek Ismaren. Surviving a massive Force battle at the site of the old Jedi Temple, Skywalker concentrated his efforts on recreating the legendary Jedi Council. To do so, he had to enter the nebulous world of politics. Backing a pro-Jedi candidate, Skywalker saw Cal Omas elected Chief of State of the newly formed Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. Together, they resurrected the Jedi Council, which now included both Jedi representatives and members of the New Republic government.
Armed with important information from Vergere, an Old Republic Jedi who had spent decades among the Yuuzhan Vong, Skywalker journeyed to the depths of the Unknown Regions, seeking to find the key to victory against the alien invaders. He, together with several other Jedi, journeyed to the living world Zonama Sekot, where he persuaded the living intelligence of the planet, Sekot, to help defeat the Yuuzhan Vong. At the climax of the conflict, Skywalker slew the puppet Supreme Overlord Shimrra and his nephew Jacen defeated the true Overlord, Onimi. Gathering all the Jedi that had survived the war, Skywalker explained to them a new path for the Order, that their role was to embrace the Force completely and serve its will wherever that will guided them.
Behind the scenes
Origins of Luke
Just as George Lucas took the name "Anakin" from his friend and fellow film director, Ken Annakin, the name "Luke" is likely derived from Lucas' own name. Luke is sometimes criticized as being a "Mary Sue" character based on Lucas.
In early drafts of the A New Hope screenplay, the main character who became Luke was a girl. In other drafts, Luke was an experienced general rather than a naive youth. Just before the final script was written, his surname was Starkiller.
Luke Skywalker was portrayed by Mark Hamill in the Original trilogy and The Star Wars Holiday Special, as well as by Aiden Barton (editor Roger Barton's son) as an infant in Revenge of the Sith. Hamill returned to provide the voice of Luke in the radio dramatizations of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Hamill also played Luke in a number of comedy skits on TV. In 1977, he briefly played Luke on The Donnie and Marie Show Star Wars Tribute, and again on an episode of The Muppet Show in 1980.
Although Hamill continued on a career of voicing, Luke was portrayed by Bob Bergen in video and computer games. Hamill reprised his role as a serious Luke for a speaking role in a commercial for Vector Prime in 2000.