The Star Wars Saga is full of some great battles and few characters have had greater fights than the hero of the Original Trilogy, Luke Skywalker. Luke would become a great Jedi over the course of his life, called upon to tackle some of the greatest threats the galaxy has ever known. While he often needed the help of his friends to save the day, there’s no doubt Luke faced some powerful foes over the years.
Whether it be in Disney’s canonical sources or in Legends, where Luke lived a very different life, Luke Skywalker faced down some of the most dangerous beings around, always triumphing and bringing hope to the galaxy.
10 Kylo Ren
Technically, Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker only got into one physical altercation, beyond sparring in training, and Ren was able to Force push him hard enough to knock him out for hours. Years, later, the two would “meet” on the planet Crait, with Luke distracting his volatile nephew, stopping the First Order from completely slaughtering the remnants of the Resistance.
Ren was a powerful Force user and his lightsaber style, while lacking finesse and skill, was extremely brutal. His anger was his biggest weakness, though, and it’s what allowed Luke to ultimately triumph over Kylo Ren- if Ren would have used the Force and thought things out, he may have realized Luke wasn’t really there and not wasted his time with a glorified hologram.
9 Boba Fett
While Boba Fett is more known as Han Solo’s enemy than Luke’s, Luke and Fett faced each other several times. The first time was shortly after the Battle of Yavin on Tatooine, when Luke went back to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s house to find mementos of his dead master. The two went back and forth, with Luke ultimately able to escape the bounty hunter.
During the daring rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt in Return Of The Jedi, Luke and Fett would briefly clash again, with Fett tying Luke up and Luke able to get out. Fett was able to almost take out Luke both times, which is pretty impressive.
Lumiya was Darth Vader’s apprentice in Legends, an Imperial agent he sent to infiltrate the Rebellion and get close to Luke Skywalker. Posing as a pilot, she would fly Luke’s wing. Luke, using the Force to scan for foes when his instruments were down, ended up shooting down her fighter and she was rebuilt by Darth Vader into cyborg, re-christened the Dark Lady of the Sith.
Lumiya and Luke would clash many times over the years, with Lumiya’s mastery of the lightwhip testing Luke’s lightsaber skills. She would eventually end up tempting Luke’s nephew, Jacen, to the Sith and tutor him in their ways before sacrificing herself by pretending to have killed Luke’s wife Mara. Luke beheaded her, coming perilously close to the dark side at that moment.
7 Luuke Skywalker
Legends gets derided for a lot of reasons by fans who aren’t very familiar with it. Sometimes, it’s for good reason (never read Star Wars: The Crystal Star) and other times for not-so-good reasons. Luuke Skywalker is one of those things that seem lame on the surface—a clone of Luke with an extra vowel in his name—but is actually much cooler in practice.
Created from the retrieved hand Luke lost on Bespin and wielding his old lightsaber, Luuke battled Luke to a standstill on Wayland as the heroes were trying to destroy the Emperor’s hidden cloning facility/treasure house and its guardian, insane Jedi Master clone Joruus C’baoth. Luke’s battle with his clone was one of his most challenging up to that point, one he couldn’t win without the help of enemy turned friend Mara Jade.
6 Supreme Overlord Shimrra
The Yuuzhan Vong War in Legends was one of the most destructive conflicts the galaxy had ever known, with quadrillions dead. The Yuuzhan Vong were an extragalactic species that had destroyed their entire galaxy in their wars and came looking for a new home. Armed with amazing biotech and invisible to the Force, they were the greatest challenge the heroes of the New Republic ever faced.
They were led by Supreme Overlord Shimrra and Luke ended up battling the massive warrior during the last battle of the war. Shimrra was the pinnacle of his society—strong and skilled, he gave Luke a run for his money, almost defeating him but Luke was able to triumph.
5 Joruus C’baoth
Joruus C’baoth was the insane clone of Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth. Created by the Emperor to guard his personal treasure trove, he would join up with Grand Admiral Thrawn in what has come to be known as the Thrawn Trilogy, the series of books that basically kicked off the EU and saved Star Wars after years of stagnation.
C’baoth and Luke would clash several times, with C’baoth obsessed with using Luke, Leia, and any other Force users he could get his hands to start a new Empire led by Force wielders. Luke, with the help of his friends, would eventually defeat the mad clone on Wayland, ending his threat and striking a severe blow to Thrawn’s military might.
4 Darth Caedus
Darth Caedus was once Jacen Solo, son of Leia and Han and Luke’s nephew. Jacen was one of the most powerful Jedi ever, mastering multiple Force disciplines before falling to the Sith because of the machinations of Lumiya and a desire to control everything so that no one would suffer again. Caedus would succeed in taking over most of the galaxy through subterfuge and ignite a second civil war.
Caedus was a very powerful and skilled Force user but Luke had a big part in his training and was able to defeat him rather handily in the one lightsaber fight they got into. However, Caedus was still one of the greatest threats Luke had ever faced, almost succeeding in ending Luke’s Jedi Order and plunging the galaxy into darkness again.
3 Darth Vader
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker clashed many times during the Galactic Civil War, with their relationship growing more tangled and complicated as things went on. Vader was Palpatine’s chief enforcer, cutting a bloody swath through the Empire’s enemies. After the destruction of the Death Star, Vader devoted himself to finding Skywalker.
Their battle on Bespin was their most emotionally charged and it changed their relationship forever, with Vader revealing he was Luke’s father. From this moment on, Luke would devote himself to redeeming his father, even though it was questionable whether he deserved it, a move that would ultimately end the Emperor’s dark reign over the galaxy and cost Vader his life.
2 Exar Kun
In Legends and canon, Luke opened up a Jedi Academy. The difference between the two is that the one in Legends was actually successful and survived more than one attack from its foes. However, the first attack could have ended Luke’s dream in Legends just like they were in canon. The academy was located in the Great Temple on Yavin IV, the former Rebel base, and unbeknownst to all an old Sith base.
The temple was haunted by the spirit of Sith Lord Exar Kun, awakened by the Force powers of the trainees. He would end up killing one student and driving another perilously close to the dark side, even separating Luke’s spirit from his body. Luke’s spirit and his remaining student would defeat Kun but it was a very close thing.
1 Emperor Palpatine
Emperor Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, was the culmination of millennia of Sith planning. Palpatine was able to manipulate his way to the top, taking control of the Republic and destroying the Jedi. With the galaxy under his cruel yoke and Darth Vader at his side, Palpatine thought himself untouchable.
He and Luke only fought once and it wasn’t much of a fight, with Palpatine attacking the young Jedi with Force Lightning and easily incapacitating him. Before he could kill Luke, Vader came to his son’s rescue and repaid Palpatine for the years of pain he had suffered because of the Sith Lord, killing him and effectively ending any hope of an Imperial victory.
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