Every Star Wars movie ends with some sort of lightsaber battle showdown ever since the very first film, A New Hope, back in 1977, when Obi-Wan was struck down by Darth Vader. Despite Luke insisting he would not return with Rey to the Resistance fight, it seemed unlikely that we would make it to the end of film without a showdown that involved the elder Skywalker. So, when Luke arrived on Crait, we knew we were in for a Luke vs. Kylo Ren fight scene for the ages. WARNING: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow.
But after all Luke's talk of, "What, you want me to go out there with a laser sword and face down the entire First Order?," watching him do just about that was some next-level stuff. Especially once the entire First Order fired everything they had and he kept walking.
Impossible, you say? Let us recall that Leia was literally flung out into space and used the Force to survive it. The Force isn't just about floating rocks, you know. It's about the spaces in between and how it holds things together, so perhaps Luke walked in between the shots... or something.
With Luke unable to be shot, Kylo then agress to go down there and face him, one-on-one. This is their final meeting, the first since Luke's training Jedi temple fell, when Luke saw that Kylo would turn to the Dark Side, and made the fatal mistake of giving into fear. It lead to the Dark Side all right, but it was Kylo's path there, not Luke's.
But even as Kylo ran at Luke, and Luke deftly seemed to move out of the way every time. Wasn't there something suspicious about it? Didn't you note the lack of footprints? Every time someone stepped on the snowy landscape of the Hoth-like world, the white would melt away, leaving the red ground exposed underneath. In front of the door to rebel base, the snow had melted and turned black, so it look like a huge, bloody smear in front of the entrance. And yet, every time Luke stepped in snow... no footprints.
Then there was one other little detail: the lightsaber. Luke's original lightsaber, the one his father gave to him, that was lost in Empire Strikes Back, was blue. The one he then made himself in Return of the Jedi was green.
The one he held up when he thought to attack Ben Solo in the flashbacks was green, too. But here, he held a blue one. The one Rey had tried to bring him, despite the fact that the very same blue lightsaber was smashed into pieces in Rey's possession on the Falcon at that moment.
It was all a trick. Luke wasn't there at all. He was burning up the last of his life force to say goodbye to Leia one last time, and then to provide a distraction long enough for the Resistance to flee, in an act of heroism that would be told by children across the galaxy.
Kylo tried to strike Luke down the same way Darth Vader did Obi-Wan. But Luke denied him that last kill. It was for Kylo's own sake, so that he would not carry Luke's ghost with him everywhere he went, the way he did his father's.
His mission done, Luke died as he lived: staring out at a horizon where the twin suns were setting. Kylo may have tried to strike Luke down, but in the end, he lost. Better yet, the Resistance escaped once again, lead by Poe and Rey.
We look forward to seeing Force Ghost Luke in Episode IX. Until then, his spirit will be with us, always.