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Luke vs Rey, a point-by-point comparison

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</p>

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.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sealwhiskers
Dec. 29th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
Okay, you made me laugh a lot from this, and I also agreed with all your conclusions!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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