Luke vs Rey, a point-by-point comparison 5

Since there’s been shit talked about the comparison between Rey and Luke (and how “realistic” Rey is as a character in a universe where there is sound in the vacuum of space and magic exists but okay) I wanted to actually sit down and granularly compare the two characters. Rey’s information comes in after my fourth viewing of The Force Awakens. I filled out the Luke column last night and tonight, while rewatching A New Hope. Note that I suffered through the CGI-ed up version with the incredibly stupid, added Jabba the Hutt scene in there, so you should send me pity donuts.

I decided since Rey’s arc in The Force Awakens basically takes her from zero to dropping her in front of a Jedi Master, who had better be training her in the next film or Luke and I are going to have words, I should pick a similar point for Luke for comparison. That basically gets him through the battle on Hoth (beginning of The Empire Strikes Back), when he goes off to find Yoda and get himself some proper training too.

EDITED TO CORRECT: Apparently time elapsed between Yavin and Hoth is three years? I got pointed toward a better timeline. Damn, Luke. Obi-Wan took his fucking ghostly time telling you where to find a teacher, didn’t he.

This does make my inclusion of Luke’s lightsaber grabbing a little more ehhhh (imagine me wiggling my hand here), though I’m still of the opinion that if it would have been of narrative use in A New Hope, he could have done it just fine. But your milage my vary there and I’m really not looking to argue this particular point.

Of course this contains spoilers for The Force Awakens, gosh. And A New Hope, if you have managed to avoid that for all these years.

Luke Rey
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Background Moisture farmer; actually Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala’s kid, adopted by a family on Tattooine, a desert planet, for his own protection. He’s a secret prince! Abandoned by her family at 5 years old on Jakku, a desert planet. Became scavenger to survive. Other background as yet unknown.
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Age at the start of the adventure 19-ish 19-ish
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Major character flaw at start Immature (whiney, unworldly) Unable to move on from past abandonment, a little too fiercely into the self-reliant loner thing
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Develops past character flaw? Yes (definitely no longer whiney, goes from unworldly to otherworldly by the time he hits RotJ thanks to a stop at the dramatic cloak store) Yes (stops trying to return to Planet Bumfuck, comes to trust her friends will come through for her thanks to Finn)
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Has boobs*** No Yes
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Skills going in to film Good at fixing droids and other machines

Good enough pilot to be considering the Imperial Academy; later compares the Death Star trench run to doing a canyon run back home. (Getting the impression that he’s only flown on-planet, but he doesn’t specifically say that.)

Proficient at fighters and freighters via flight sim; has flown actual freighters on planet only**.

Repaired a wrecked light freighter (Ghtroc Industries 690) and made it space worthy**

Has survived on her own as a scavenger since early childhood, capable of repairing and refurbishing components in order to sell them.

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Good with blasters? He can sure bullseye some Womp Rats! Not bad with the Millenium Falcon’s turret guns either. Not at all going in, mediocre coming out
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Melee? Manages to wave around the lightsaber immediately without hurting himself or alarming Ben, decent with it by the time he hits Hoth in Empire Strikes Back Expert with staff, basically wields a lightsaber like it’s a half staff
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Non-Force skills they show off during the course of the film Talks Han into rescuing Leia like a canny little shit

Swings Leia across a chasm-ish thing in swashbuckling style while being shot at by Stormtroopers

Apparently went to the Han Solo school of door repair

Unveiled as the best X-wing pilot EVAR, hotdogging it all around the Death Star. (Leia later compares Poe Dameron, the “best/most daring pilot of the Resistance,” favorably to Luke**.)

Does some darn good repair work on the Millenium Falcon, earns Han’s respect

Navigates around Starkiller base very cannily while rescuing herself

Good enough pilot that Chewie doesn’t mind flying with her on the Falcon

Beats up a group of thugs on her own to protect BB-8; manages to get the drop on Finn, who was a squad leader before he left the First Order**

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Major in-film mistakes His plan to rescue Leia isn’t exactly A+, though a lot of that can be blamed on the influence of actual human disaster Han Solo Accidentaly releases the Rathtars in Han Solo’s freighter by resetting the wrong fuses. Almost gets Han, Chewie, and Finn killed in the process.

Runs off into the woods and gets captured by Kylo Ren. Finn, Han, and Chewie come rescue her, and Han gets killed by Kylo Ren while there.

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Does Han Solo offer them a job? Yep, right before the attack on the Death Star Yep, right before introducing her to Maz
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Do they speak droid? Yes. Yes.
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Nemesis Sith Lord Darth Vader, who was supposed to be Jedi Jesus before Palpatine got his hooks into him, fully trained and badass for the last twenty years

(Darth Vader blocks multiple blaster bolts with his fucking hands in the Empire Strikes Back)

Kylo Ren, who has lots of raw power but is not well trained (Snoke says his training isn’t complete, Han implies Snoke isn’t training him properly because he’s just using him), and has temper tantrums because his self control sucks that bad. Also, his lightsaber is literally called “the junk saber” in the script because it’s badly made, unstable shit.

(Kylo Ren stops a blaster bolt mid air)

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Do they fight their nemesis? Sort of? Darth Vader chases him down the trench in the Death Star while flying a TIE Fighter. Yes. Toe to toe lightsaber battle.
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Advisor Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who gives Luke the Force 101 before fucking off into ghosthood; Luke gets like a day worth of lightsaber training while flying on the Millenium Falcon, followed by some noncorporeal coaching Maz Kanata, self-described as someone who isn’t a Jedi but “knows the Force,” who tells Rey she needs to close her eyes and feel the Force
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Is their advice useful? Luke trusts in his feelings and blows up the Death Star Rey closes her eyes and feels the Force, then defeats Kylo Ren
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Force powers utilized prior to proper training Uses the Force to make the torpedo shot no one else can make and blow up the Death Star right before it destroys the Rebel Base at Yavin, when failure is really not an option.

Doesn’t get his ass killed by Darth Vader, who is in a TIE fighter at the time and chasing him. Presumably partially due to using the Force, since Vader even remarks on strong he is before Han comes swooping in.

Force grabs lightsaber (beginning of Empire Strikes Back); my presumption is he could have done this at the end of A New Hope if the script had called for it. It’s not like Ben trained him how to do this particular trick before getting evaporated by Vader.

Jedi mind trick on Stormtrooper James Bond to get him to release her from Kylo Ren’s villain chair and leave the cell door open, getting it right on the third try when failure is really not an option.

Stands up to Kylo Ren’s telepathic attack on the second go round, turns the tables on him.

Force grabs Luke’s lightsaber away from Kylo Ren in the most epic scene of the entire movie

Manages to “trust in her feelings” enough to beat Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel, notably after he’s been shot by Chewbacca and poked in the right arm with a lightsaber by Finn

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Blows up the Empire’s/First Order’s giant super weapon? Yep. No, that was accomplished by Poe Dameron, after Han and Chewie blew an X-wing-sized hole in the Scientifish Jargon Generator Housing
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Gets a medal? Yep. No, but General Organa hugs her.
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Leia hugged Luke too, you know. Sure did! :D Yeah but his was a creepy potential incest hug!

** – Information from the Before the Awakening stories.

*** – This should not actually be relevant, yet somehow is to some people.

In conclusion, Rey and Luke are each shining, precious space babies in their own way. She gets more badass Force tricks and beats the snot out of disgruntled Mini Snape. He gets to single-handedly blow up the most pants-shittingly terrifying megaweapon the galaxy had seen at that point, by using the Force. Please stop undermining Luke’s enormous, medal-earning accomplishment just because Rey has boobs and made Stormtrooper James Bond drop his blaster.

5 thoughts on “Luke vs Rey, a point-by-point comparison

  1. Reply Benjamin Rosenbaum Dec 30,2015 14:23

    Bravo.

    Plus, it’s worth noting that being abandoned at 6 years old and having to fight other scavengers for scraps in a dystopian kleptocratic desert wasteland might be a tad better preparation for hand-to-hand combat, quick decision-making, and other heroics (and for intuitively refining your innate inclination towards the force, at least as far as melee and intimidation goes), than growing up a relatively pampered farm kid on a moisture farm prosperous enough to own a whole bunch of droids, overprotected by your aunt & uncle who know exactly how your father turned out and are not going to let you get anywhere near the pod races.

  2. Reply madlogician Dec 30,2015 17:19

    Rey can also understand Wookie, which otherwise only Han Solo can. Presumably there are some present on Jakku.

  3. Reply Gilmartin Parés Galarcé Jul 3,2016 21:46

    also anakin did more than that at the age of 9 and 19 he was already a hero in the clone wars so and people still deny the similarities between family lines. people say the force is not genetic but the force cane used by anybody how strong you are in the force is genetic and training its like when talent works hard can beat anybody who works hard

  4. Reply Squad Leader Feb 20,2017 12:24

    It’s a pretty good comparison but one of my main issues was that luke is quite literally getting saved all the time by his friends for example obi wan saves him from the tusken raiders then again in the cantina from the two thugs then he’s saved by R2D2 and C3PO in the trash compactor Obi Wan saves all of them by turning of the tractor beam and staying back to duel Vader to buy them time effectively sacrificing himself and finally right at the end by Han and Chewie who came back with the millennium falcon.
    Rey on the other hand is the ultimate hero time and time again her only screw up in the hole movie was when she accidentally released the Rathtar which ended up working out in her favor effectively saveing Han Solo and Chewbacca.
    Plus she rectified the situation in the nick of time saving Fin aswell.
    To me this made me feel like the other support characters where all abit useless pretty much only getting in the way of Rey the whole time or just thrown in to move the plot along.
    I don’t find the “she’s the chosen one” trope very satisfying the speculation that makes the most sense to me is the memory wipe one where she had training but it was wiped from her memory a bit like Revan in KotOR.
    And the “she had a flight simulator thats why she can fly the Falcon” is a bit sketchy to me from what i’ve gathered that’s extended universe stuff you shouldn’t have to read an EU book to get an explanation for an advanced character skill without even mentioning it in the movie.
    And all this talk about Kylo Ren not being fully trained seems a bit lame the guy is supposed to be 30 years old at the time of the movie, training under luke from childhood and only defecting from the Jedi order at 17.
    Anakin was still a Padawan in Revenge of the Sith he was only 23 in that movie and started out late and he would of whooped Kylo Ren in a fight but that’s not my point my point is you can be still in training and not be a total noob especially considering the minimum of 20 years of training he had compared to Rey’s 19 years life experiences and no former Jedi training at all.
    Kylo Ren aka the worst force user ever?
    I love an underdog but if Rey was an underdog that’d be sexist!
    one last thing i thought Rogue One did the strong female lead much better jyn erso is awesome in that movie the hole movie touched on gender equality in a far more elegant way the old lady flying an X-Wing :D that shit is dope!

  5. Reply CRConrad Dec 11,2017 18:46

    Oh, dash it! I was so sure *** was going to be “Who knows? By _The Force Awakens_ he probably does”.

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