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Towards the end of The Last Jedi, Luke enters a room. The first one to notice Luke's arrival is the droid C-3PO and the others turn to see what C-3PO is looking at. However...

we later see that Luke never left Ahch-To Island but rather was projecting a Force illusion of himself. The Force connects and influences organic beings so I'm having trouble understanding how C-3PO could've been affected by what is essentially an incredibly advanced mind trick.

How then could C-3PO see Luke?

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    The commanders on the ground see him through video screens. How is it any different for C-3PO? – Valorum Dec 17 '17 at 0:28
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    @Valorum then the same applies to them: how can they see Luke? – RedCaio Dec 17 '17 at 1:02
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    Midi-chlorians? – Valorum Dec 17 '17 at 1:19
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    Greedo saw Luke first – Machavity Dec 17 '17 at 1:21
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    If this scene had happened during Force Awakens, Luke might not have even recognised C3P0 – JK. Dec 17 '17 at 3:20
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Spoilers

Luke's Force-projection is a new trick, but it's pretty obvious that Luke is tangible in some form. He hands Leia a projected set of Han's dice (which disappear whel Kylo Ren picks them up), and he touches people. This isn't just a hallucination or Jedi mind trick, so Luke's projection is seen as real by anything with photoreceptors, which implies they simply receive light, as opposed to do something more elaborate, like scan for life signs.

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    Agreed, many people don't seem to realize how powerful this is. Basically, it's D&D Astral Projection. Luke gets to send himself to another planet? Project copies of items he carries? All without putting himself in physical danger? It's so powerful, it almost had to take a serious toll. – Adamant Dec 17 '17 at 2:08
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    After seeing the movie a second time and watching the fight scene closely, I don't think there's a single point where Luke deflect's Kylo's lightsaber - he only dodges. – Carmeister Dec 17 '17 at 5:25
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    Luke never comes into contact with Kylo Lightsaber that's the whole point of the scene. He can't come in contact with it because his saber would go straight through the projection. – Edlothiad Dec 17 '17 at 7:34
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    Everything you just said is wrong. – Josh Schwarzzeskywalker Dec 18 '17 at 4:24
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    I rewatched to be sure - the lightsabers don't touch, and Luke doesn't leave footprints in the salt, where other (real) people do. That's clearly supposed to tell us he's only an image. BUT he does hold hands with Leia and then drop the dice in her hand - so it's some sort of force ghost that Leia can touch (perhaps because they're twins). – LevenTrek Dec 18 '17 at 5:45
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C-3PO definitely saw Luke. But I think C-3PO suspects something is amiss, because just before Luke steps out to face the First Order:

Luke turns around to C-3PO and winks broadly at the robot. And C-3PO has a confused look (for a robot anyway) on its face.

You can't miss this scene.

Also, @Machavity says in his answer that

Luke deflected Kylo's lightsaber with his own.

But I don't remember that in the fight scene (at least on my first viewing), what I remember seeing is:

Luke emerging unscathed from all the firepower that the First Order threw at "him" and then avoiding Kylo's strikes during their face-to-face "battle". He also didn't leave any footprints on the planet's red and white salt surface while walking.

I'm wondering whether it wasn't so much a mind trick (that would have affected only living creatures), as much as it was a

Projection or hologram. Which robots can see.

Update: as pointed out in the comments below, the dice could be an anomaly. But my hunch is that:

When Luke walks into the Resistance base, he doesn't make "contact" with anyone but Leia. He talks to her, kisses her lightly on the forehead, and leaves the dice from the Falcon in her hand. After Luke disappears, when Kylo searches the base, he finds the dice, which immediately disappears from his hands, leaving Kylo either frustrated or sorrowful (it's unclear which.)

Since Leia is the only person Luke comes into physical "contact" with, my suspicion is that Leia somehow understood what Luke was doing (even though she was not a Jedi, she was strong in the Force as well), or at least suspected something like C-3P0 does.

That would also explain why Leia left the dice behind, to make sure that Kylo saw it before it disappeared.

  • It was definitely some sort of hologram, but eitherway you're 100% right that Luke wasn't necessarily tangible. This leaves the dice as an anomaly, but Luke intentionally dodged all the saber attacks because otherwise it would've been obvious that he was not there. – Edlothiad Dec 17 '17 at 7:36
  • I highly doubt Leia was in it, how would he have informed her? – Edlothiad Dec 17 '17 at 18:58
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    C-3PO always has that (spoilertagdoesn'tworkincomments) look – Criggie Dec 17 '17 at 19:17
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    Leia and Kylo are both force sensitive so may be able to interact with a force projection. – Jeremy French Dec 17 '17 at 19:55
  • @Edlothiad, I've updated my answer again. I don't think Luke "informed" Leia verbally, as much as he made sure his sister was the only one he got physically close to and gave the dice to. I suspect Leia, like C-3P0 somehow figured it out, but we won't really know. – Sam Dec 17 '17 at 23:01
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To me, he appeared to be projecting an image, which we have no reason to believe a droid couldn't see. As the comments point out, he was picked up on cameras and, I would assume, by the targeting sensors of all the AT-M6's.

A similar "trick" is when Force Ghosts appear. Although the have that ghostly blue image, it's still a Force-related appearance, visible to the eye (and, felt, as Luke would probably attest after getting his noggin beat on), and doesn't seem to be a mass mind-trick.

I don't think he was tangible, though. At most, I believe he was using Force "pushes" long-distance. We know that's a skill, because we saw Snoke knock Hux's face into the floor from great distance near the beginning of the film. This would explain him blocking Kylo's saber (Although, others who've rewatched it say this didn't happen. My memory is fuzzy since I wasn't looking specifically at that. If it happened, we have a reasonable expectation. If not, oh well). Touching hands with Leia also seemed more like the type of interaction we saw with Rey/Kylo. Sensations felt, but they weren't actually physically touching.

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    Yeah, even Vader was able to choke a guy over the CommScreen. – Peter Turner Dec 18 '17 at 14:22
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Earlier in the film

a force ghost is able to effect a "real" lightning strike which causes physical damage.

Additionally doesn't the film show

a transfer of water after a force connect?
These demonstrate it's vague what the limits of force transfer are...

  • Yes, but I'd still assume Yoda to be vastly more powerful than Luke. (Also, do we know that the tree really burned down? Or is it just another trick?) – Turion Dec 18 '17 at 10:11
  • I actually wouldn't assume Yoda to be vastly more powerful than Luke. Luke's understanding of the force is, IMO, an upgraded version compared to what Yoda had. The old understanding of the Jedi would not have been able to bring Vader back, but Luke did. – Nelson Dec 18 '17 at 16:38

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