Since the very first rumors that another Star Wars film would be made, ultra-fans of the films and comics have speculated that Luke would be the ultimate baddie, having gone the way of the Dark Side like daddy-dearest. The first image of Luke released (above) has a massive, universal sigh going out that these rumors are (at least mostly) false, and it's the light color-scheme of his robes that have assuaged fans' fears.( UPDATE: NOW THAT I HAVE SEEN STAR WARS VII, THE FULL REVIEW CAN BE FOUND HERE AT THIS LINK; THANK YOU!).
|Fans are noting that the light-color scheme is a sign that Luke hasn't gone over to the Dark Side since Jedi knights like Ben and Yoda wore light-colored robes like the one we see in the new image; does that mean that, since Luke isn't wearing black like Darth Vader that he isn't evil? Well, no, it's more complicated than that. For example, we know that white can mean death because a corpse turns white as it decomposes, and for a Jedi to go to the Dark Side means they have spiritually died and are alive to worldly ambitions and using the Force for their own gain, not the greater good of others. Brown, which there are several different shades of on the robes, refers to dirt, so either someone is as humble as the dirt and view themselves as being lowly, or this person is, literally, dirty and they are not to be trusted or respected. We also don't know at what point in the film Luke begins wearing this outfit: from the beginning, or not until the end? He wears a black cape/hood in the trailer when he puts his right hand on R2D2 (which you can watch here, look for 0:49), so he might start out on the Dark Side, but convert like his father at the end of Return Of the Jedi. Further, seeing that the robes of the old Luke (right) are the same color scheme as those of the young Luke (left), we could say that Luke has digressed into a childish phase that makes him selfish or short-sighted as he was before his destiny of meeting Leia, Luke and Ben. This is all possible, but I don't think it's probable, but we need to be flexible. The beard most likely is intended to signal to fans that Luke's self-imposed exile has been meant for him to gain wisdom so he can be the instrument of the Force, rather than use the Force as his instrument. The earth tones, then, signal that Luke has gained in humility because he has learned how great the Force is and it's not to be used lightly or without intellect and the color tones he wears from his youth indicate that the scars, passions and pains of his youth have been overcome and now he's balanced. There are two additional features of this costume we need to explore: the hood and his belt. The hood is going to function like a hat or a character's hair: it symbolizes the thoughts because our thoughts originate in our head and hair/hats are closest to the origin of our thoughts. Remember when Luke was young? He pretty much blurted out whatever came to his mind, we always knew what he was thinking; now, however, it appears that he will be keeping his thoughts mostly to himself, keeping them "under wraps" so to speak with the hood covering his head. What about the belt? The rest of his costume looks very simple, even like it could come from ancient days, from homespun or something simple like that, its natural fibers, not man-made or synthetic, etc., rather, fiber spun from some animal, domestic or alien. The belt, however, is man-made and clashes with his costume. Traditionally, belts symbolize chastity (which would make sense because he's in self-imposed exile, and exile with a bunch of prostitutes doesn't really make sense, does it?), or some vow that has been taken, and a belt (or something like it) is worn around the waist reminding the wearer of the vow taken (consider Dante and his rope belt in Inferno), and, since Luke's belt most likely holds his light saber (maybe some Jolly Ranchers or something, too) the belt reminds him of a vow he made regarding the Force (most likely to protect rather than to be aggressive). Most likely, this isn't going to come directly out in the story, however, Luke will most likely do something that violates his own vow/oath and that will be devastating to him.|
Typically (and I don't mean to offend any of the male readers: this is about the strictly controlled context of art, not what you do or don't do in your morning routine, or your personal fashion statements) a man with an unshaven face will symbolize a man who is undisciplined, or has animal appetites; why? That's how the Romans distinguished themselves from the barbarians: Roman men shaved, the barbarians had beards, so Romans considered themselves civilized whereas the barbarians were men of appetites in all realms of their existence: sexual, spiritual (they weren't converts to Christianity), intellectual and even in terms of diplomacy and warfare. We know the mouth itself symbolizes the appetites (and again, this refers to just more than food, so a woman in an artistic context, for example, who wears bright red lipstick, could be interpreted as having very active appetites, from sexual to professional, depending upon the character).
So, what about Luke Skywalker?
tonsure hair shaving was adapted because that was the mark of a slave in Roman society, so early Christian men marked themselves as the slaves of Christ in this manner of humility). So, is a beard a sign of the appetites or holiness?
Eat Your Art Out,
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P.S.--I just saw The War Room and it was quite good! Working on getting that post up next!