Today is Star Wars Day, and we have been just itching to do an Essential Wuxia Review ever since we first started this series. For this piece, we will be focus on the protagonist of the original trilogy; Luke is our wuxia hero for the sake of this argument, just to be clear. We gave the original series a 14 / 15, a silver! Read why below:
Is Luke Skywalker a Wuxia Hero? I gave this section an 8 out of 8. Luke is an altruistic hero. If you’ve never met him, he’s the kind of kid that runs off into the enemy’s moon-sized base to rescue a random princess he’d never met, the kind of kid that puts his life on the line to help a group of folks he just met overthrow the morally bankrupt empire that rules them. Was that courageous? Absolutely! And though he arguably had a stake in the fight, since the empire killed his family and that one old guy he barely knew, but the revenge just makes it even more wuxia if we’re being completely honest.
Luke’s not exactly one for following orders though, which is either his individual freedom manifesting itself, or just being a teenager, we’re not sure exactly which. He disappears for long stretches of time to heed the call of the Force, the literal life energy of the universe. This isn’t to say he doesn’t respect his master(s), or isn’t loyal to their teachings, but sometimes you’ve just got to go save that princess (again) y’know?
Being a very simple and straightforward hero archetype, Luke is very honest, and gives everything he has to those around him, even when he doesn’t have much to call his own. He checks every single point we have on our wuxia hero chart (and probably every other hero checklist too, thank you Joseph Campbell).
Is the series Essential Wuxia? I gave this section a 7 out of 8, it unfortunately missed the critical point that we consider the most compelling of the fundamental wuxia traits: everyone can be a hero. But moving on...
In the tragic backstory section of this space opera, Luke discovers a dark secret about himself, which leads him to question why he was set on his hero’s journey in the first place. Through constant training, he overcomes the fact that his father has a rage problem, cultivates his power for years to harnesses the life energy of the universe, and ultimately confronts the big, bad, evil emperor that keeps his father on life support. It’s a very compelling story, full of glowing swords that are passed down from father to son as family heirlooms, and Force-powered feats of martial prowess that look awfully similar to qigong. The ultimate conclusion of the secret war between the rival secret societies, the Jedi and the Sith, remains unclear at the end of Luke’s story and is further explored in the following trilogy, but is still a riveting part of the series’ lore nonetheless.
Essential Wuxia Score: 14/15!
Missed points: If you aren’t born with a strong connection to the Force, or aren't at the very least Force-sensitive, you’ll probably never beat someone who was born with that potential, in a fair fight. So we do have to take one point away from Star Wars’ Essential Wuxia score, otherwise it would have had full points.
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