Who among us could ever forget Luke's iconic first appearance in the Star Wars saga? As Padme Amidala, struck down for reasons beyond human ken, gasps her last breath, we are granted our first glimpse of the great redeemer, the elder twin, the son... oh, wait. No, sorry. You're right. That wasn't it. What we actually meant was the bit on Tatooine with the twin suns.
It is, of course, typical of Luke's luck that his semi-classic screen entrance - sullenly dragging his feet over desert floor to answer a nagging aunt's summons - should be somewhat sullied by Sith's climactic loose-end gathering. Luke, a heroic figure so expertly drafted that if he didn't exist mythologist Joseph Campbell would have to crack open a new archetype to capture him, never could catch a break.
While three decades of fickle fandom have seen hokey religions coalesce around costumed extras, Luke, the original saga's original starkiller, is enduringly cast as a punchline, perpetually pining for the golden summer of '77. These days even shouty squid-fish alien things and dead-meat TIE fighter pilots can become cover stars (crazy world!), and yet the only instance of cult cred to embellish Luke's CV recently is that Simpsons episode where Mark Hamill told Homer to "use the fork".
It was also Hamill's peculiar misfortune to settle down at a back table in a Mos Eisley dive bar and find himself face-to-face with a superstar in the making. Who knew? From the moment Han shoots first (first!), Star Wars is such a Solo affair that by 1978 George Lucas would re-dub his middle episode A New Hope in order to remind the cheap seats that it is, duh, about Luke.
All of which is, of course, grossly unfair. It's not so much that he's the character closest to Lucas himself (Luke... Lucas... think about it), rather that, quite simply, he has the best story arc, the best fight scenes (until the prequels he's the only hero to engage in proper, full-on lightsaber duels) and even the greatest scene of the entire saga.
Sure, Han's carbonite farewell in Empire has crushing emotional oomph, but it's the Vader/Skywalker showdown, with its climactic megaton-bombshell revelation, that stands as the entire canon's single most memorable, most iconic, most numbingly impactful moment. And it's Luke who sells it, screaming his soul-riven disbelief into the tornado; then, once he's shattered, choosing to fall despondently down that giant air duct rather than take his pop's metallic hand.
Unlike everyone else, Luke is allowed to grow up. He completes his Jedi training (back when that was a cool thing to do) and even gets his revenge on Han ol' buddy by skipping out to face down the Emperor while Solo is teamed with the teddy-bear army. Ultimately, Luke finds closure, for us as much as himself, and we are with him all the way.