The Sexual Purity of Luke Skywalker
Here is an angle of Star Wars that you have probably not encountered. Today, we will be looking at Luke Skywalker’s sexual purity.
First, I should address the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Of course I am referring to Luke and Leia’s brush with incest. By the end of Return of the Jedi we know that Luke and Leia are both children of Anakin Skywalker. This is all well and good, except Luke had the hots for her in the first two films. Chances are Leia also had a thing since she kissed him in every movie.
It’s easy to blow this whole thing out of proportion. Let’s calm ourselves and look at this situation as reasonable people.
At no time in the films does the level of attraction between Luke and Leia enter into the realm of the sexual. What do I mean? If you really look at how they interact, they much more closely resemble platonic friends than lovers. The only possible exception comes at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back when Leia kisses Luke on the recovery table to spite Han. That kiss looks sort of passionate. But remember, it’s a response to her passion for Han (even if it’s passionate anger). I can let it slide. Besides, neither of them knew they were related at that point. I think we can get past this whole thing. Please, try.
Perhaps some of the appeal Star Wars has for young boys is Luke’s lack of a love interest. Girls aren’t super appealing when you’re 6. This makes Luke more relatable to the young audience. He isn’t driven by love for a woman. He is driven by a hunger for purpose, adventure (at least initially. Before Yoda got to him), friendship, and destiny. Just think of all the movies where the protagonist is trying to get the girl. Often times, this is his major motivation. Luke is a man on a quest. His friends Leia, Han, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca are his closest relations. It’s simple. It’s Star Wars.
Juxtapose Luke’s purity with Anakin’s uncontrollable desire for Padme. First of all, it’s annoying. You could gag a maggot with those mushy scenes from Attack of the Clones. Anakin and Padme are that annoying couple that think they’re the greatest couple in history. Second, this romance goes against the way of the Jedi. It is a conscious act of disobedience. Not only is it a symptom of Anakin’s deep character flaws, but it is also a major step toward the Dark Side. It is ultimate attachment, and largely selfish. Anakin is merely fulfilling his desire. In the end, he chokes her. Then she dies in a really lame fashion. Her heart breaks. The only good thing to come out of it all are the children. And really, they are the result of nature more than the fruit of their love.
For me, it’s refreshing to watch the original trilogy. It isn’t complicated by romantic relationships, and it isn’t defiled by adulterated passion. Luke is a little boy’s hero.