So during the Last Jedi

Luke does his force projection and faces Kylo Ren. He has a brief conversation with Leia obviously before he does this.

Whilst he's fighting Kylo, Poe says something along the lines of it seems like a distraction so they can escape.

Now in my mind I think Luke knew that Kylo would want to face him. He probably didn't anticipate Kylo trying to shoot him with everything he had first (which probably would have wiped him out if he was actually there). But at no point did he say to any of the rebels. "Hey, I'm not actually here but everyone thinks I am, so I'll distract Kylo Ren and you guys escape out the back, and boom, Bob's your uncle and no one is hurt".

If Luke was creating a distraction for everyone to escape, why didn't he say so rather than relying on someone to figure it out, regardless as to whether he was actually there or not. People could clearly see and interact with him. For all he knows they could have thought all hope was lost and just decided to watch the battle hoping for the best.

I'm looking for an in-universe answer/explanation rather than cinematic reasons.

  • 6
    Cinematic excitement.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 19:45
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    I have no support for this idea (hence comment, not answer), but I think Leia must have known, or at least sensed, what was up, and would have eventually come to the same conclusion as Poe.
    – Martha
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 23:12
  • 1
    Who is this Uncle Bob? I don't see hm on any of the ancestry charts. Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 14:46

3 Answers 3


It's very likely that Leia knew Luke wasn't there, and that this was Luke's intention. It is established from Luke's fight with Kylo that physical contact reveals the illusion for what it is (matter passes right through). This is why Luke "dodges" Kylo's attacks, rather than parries them.

Therefore, when Luke first appears and gives Leia Han's dice, she would immediately know they weren't real. This is later supported when she leaves them behind, which (if they were real) she surely wouldn't have done. Also, when Kylo "picks up" the dice, he too understands them to be an illusion. In addition, when Luke kisses Leia on the head, she would have known him to not be present as well.

With this knowledge, Leia would have known about Luke's plan even if Poe hadn't jumped on it. But, since he did, she let him lead. The whole film she was trying to teach him to be a leader, not a hero, and once he takes up the role, she's not going to steal his thunder. But Luke wasn't aware of her goals with Poe, so he naturally informs his sister of his plan in a very subtle, Jedi-Master-y way.

  • 1
    Great point about Leia mentoring Poe for the leadership role. I think you're spot on, Luke let Leia know he wasn't there by touching her, so she'd understand what needed to happen, and then Leia let Poe have his moment so he'd understand the need for him to be a leader which, given real life events, I guess will be especially pertinent for the next movie. RIP space princess :(
    – delinear
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 15:09
  • I accepted this at the main answer due to the thoughts about teaching Poe to be a leader as I think that's probably a bit more relevant.
    – TommyBs
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 15:42

In Universe

Luke was creating a legend of himself which is why he stylized himself looking younger and more of a Jedi look than earlier. I think he knew Kylo Ren wanted him dead and so guessed walking out to face them would cause them to shoot. By surviving the shooting he makes himself a legend a man that walked out and survived a barrage of shots from the First Order.

If he had told everyone what he was doing they wouldn't have been impressed, I mean it's amazing but he's a Master Jedi should be easy right? He creates a bigger legend for himself if no one knows the truth. This is evidenced at the end of the film where the children are retelling the story.

Pure speculation on this but I believe Leia knew he wasn't there, she's force sensitive and obviously has a strong connection with Luke. Also Han's dice probably meant a lot to her so if they were the real ones I doubt she would have left them behind.

Out of Universe

It doesn't make for as very good cinematic experience or reveal if Luke says "Hey I'm not actually here don't worry about them shooting me" before he goes out.

  • 1
    Regardless he still doesn’t tell anyone it’s a distraction, he relied on them guessing.
    – TommyBs
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 12:11
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    @TommyBs Which is the whole point of what he's doing... He's inspiring a generation that doesn't work if people know your plans
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 12:12
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    @Edlothiad They knew his name but they also knew he abandoned the rebellion. Coming back and doing some amazing feat was to make people want to give hope to the rebellion again.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 12:14
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    He was trusting in The Force that they would understand it was a distraction - there is no such thing as luck - and trusting that his legendary showdown would reinvigorate the Resistance/Rebellion.
    – vynsane
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 19:25
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    I think it was important for him to be witnessed. People saw him walk out alone and face down the First Order. They fired everything they had, and he was untouched. He wasn't just providing them an escape, he was giving them hope. He proved the Jedi are stronger than the First Order, and there just so happens to be one around the corner! It may have been a cheeky trick, but nobody else knew that.
    – Ethan
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 20:11

He wanted good reactions

Luke needed the reactions of the Resistance to be authentic. Ben could have felt it if Poe and the others were not worried but also impressed. The First Order might have seen their reactions on their scopes, and might have suspected something. If they left immediately because they knew Luke wouldn't need their help, and were not curious about what he was going to do, that would have been even more telling.

Also, withholding information from your allies is an ancient Jedi tradition.

  • 2
    +1 "Also, withholding information from your allies is an ancient Jedi tradition." Weeell. Only from a certain point of view.
    – Turion
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 8:12

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