“Everything’s changed and nothing’s changed.”
Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke has been the focal point of a majority of Star Wars up until present. Luke in particular was the quintessential “hero with a thousand faces” that rose from humble beginnings to become the savior of the galaxy. He blew up the Death Star, became the last of the Jedi, and redeemed a Dark Lord of the Sith. Over the course of the original trilogy, Luke went through a substantial character arc that started with frustrated boy and ended with a confident bad ass who faced down an Emperor.
But along the way of that arc, Luke went through a lot of hardship. That journey is reflected in his wardrobe in a very deliberate way, both through the timeline of the films and beyond. The Expanded Universe also, well, expanded on his character in different ways with several costumes. However, given that the Expanded Universe is now no longer canon, all we have is how Luke will be portrayed in The Force Awakens.
If you weren’t aware, a photo of Luke Skywalker’s costume in The Force Awakens leaked online. Unfortunately, we’re not able to post it here… but we’re sure you can find if you look. We will be referring to it, though, in our analysis throughout the article.
A New Hope
Here we have the pure white desert wear of a moisture farmer. The white gives away Luke as a good guy instantly (you’ll notice the characters are pretty color coded in the films), and the loose fitting fabric gives away his humble origins. This version of Luke is a wide eyed boy ready to take on the world, even if he is naive about what that means.
The Empire Strikes Back
The white has gone grey now that Luke is fighting a war with the Rebel Alliance. He’s seen some friends die and some of his exuberance has been tempered by combat experience, but he still has an eagerness to him that leads him to leap without looking… like when he races off to fight Darth Vader at the end of the film.
Shadows of the Empire
Here, Luke is still dealing with the fallout of his failure from the end of The Empire Strikes Back but hasn’t quite become the confident Jedi from the next film. He’s in a transitionary phase and his costume reflects that. Here, we have something similar to his garb from Return of the Jedi, but with a tan/grey vest over it to show bits of the Luke from the latter two films of the original trilogy.
Return of the Jedi
Here’s Luke at his most confident, but also his closest to the Dark Side. The all black, almost militaristic costume is incredibly cool but also indicative of the Emperor and Imperial uniforms. This is a Luke that’s dangerously close to falling from the light due to the weight on his shoulders, but also a Luke that’s seasoned and focused. The Expanded Universe pretty much used this as Luke’s default look for many of the years after the films.
While the story is… of questionable quality… it does have Luke falling to the Dark Side. As a result, Luke’s dark costume from Return of the Jedi takes another step toward being Darth Vader. If you look at the material on the legs and arms, it’s pretty much exactly the same as that on Vader’s costume.
The Expanded Universe
As Luke became the master of a new Jedi Order, his appearance became closer to what you’d expect from a Jedi Master. Not the Obi-Wan Kenobi style robes with the collar of his Return of the Jedi style uniform. For those who saw the leaked Force Awakens picture, these are actually VERY similar to what we saw, right down to the style of the collar. The only difference is that in that photo, the robes were closer to light grey and the tunic was a uniform white.
The Force Awakens
Although we can’t show you yesterday’s picture, we can show you this still from the trailer which is most definitely Luke from the film:
You’ll notice similarities, including the white tunic sleeve and the darker robes (though the robes seem much darker here than the leaked photo, perhaps due to different lighting or costume changes in pre-production). We also see that the artificial skin around Luke’s cybernetic hand is gone, leaving the reminder of his duel on Bespin for all to see.
We also know that Luke will have an Obi-Wan style beard, which is really the biggest difference between his look in the newest film and his Jedi Master look in the EU. Perhaps they took some inspiration from it after all?