At the beginning of Return of the Jedi, it’s like Luke Skywalker’s gone mad. He’s swinging that lightsaber around left and right, slicing here, dicing there–he’s killing up a storm with that thing!
Jabba’s friends and employees have no chance because–finally–Luke is a man!
He started out with a whiny voice, a need to get power converters at Tosche station, and absolutely no lightsaber. My how things change during the course of a trilogy.
A little practice with the lightsaber changes Luke into a Jedi Knight! And boy, look at him use that thing. He’s an absolute master with it. Truly, it’s a pleasure to behold.
Then he hangs out with Yoda, who tells him pretty plainly that to be a real man, he has to face Vader. But…Vader has a lightsaber, too! This sets up the climactic confrontation to come. A battle of sabers. It couldn’t end any better.
After chatting with Yoda, Luke camps out with his friends and some teddy bears, but doesn’t really enjoy himself too much because there aren’t as many occasions to whip out his tool. So he takes off to confront Vader and before you know it, the two are swinging their lightsabers at each other in a holy galactic confrontation of masculinity!
And then, as Luke finally succeeds in smashing his lightsaber down on Vader repeatedly, he realizes that the victory is not making him feel like a man. In fact, it’s making him feel like a terrible machine.
This leads Luke toward his dramatic moment of truth. He IS a man, he decides, but it has nothing to do with having a lightsaber. He tosses his instrument away. He doesn’t need it anymore. True masculinity doesn’t come from a device, no matter how long or exciting.
He turns to face the Emperor–without any artifice. He is a real man, now!
And as the Emperor squirts out streams of energy from his bare fingers, Luke’s new realization is confirmed. Even the Emperor could care less about having a long one.
As Luke Skywalker writhes in agony, he is comforted by the fact that now he knows the true source of masculinity. It comes from within.