How Did Luke Know About The Clone Wars In A New Hope (But NOT The Jedi)?

Luke Skywalker has a rather strange grasp of galactic history in the first Star Wars film - he'd heard of the Clone Wars, but not of the Jedi. Luke and Leia may be twins, but there are striking differences between their upbringings. Leia was brought up in the royal palace of Alderaan and was given the best education her adopted parents could provide. In contrast, Luke Skywalker grew up on the remote desert world of Tatooine, raised by his uncle and aunt.

Education doesn't seem to have been a priority on Tatooine, as Luke demonstrated when he talked with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although Luke professed to know a little about the Clone Wars, he had never heard of the Jedi - a remarkable gap in his knowledge given the Jedi had served as generals in that conflict. Indeed, the Clone Wars had come to an end with Order 66. Palpatine claimed the Jedi had betrayed the Republic, and used this as the inciting incident to declare himself Emperor. Luke's knowledge of galactic history was decidedly spotty.


Related: Star Wars: All 11 Inquisitors In Canon Explained

Tatooine was ruled by the Hutts even in the prequel era, meaning it was always outside the jurisdiction of the Jedi. This meant Jedi were legends even in the days of Anakin Skywalker, and memories of lightsabers and the Force would have dimmed all the more with only a few Jedi surviving Order 66. The Empire banned teaching about the Jedi across the galaxy, meaning Luke's generation knew only what tales were passed on by parents, family, neighbors, and friends. As seen in the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ TV show, Tatooine was visited by Inquisitors on at least one occasion. It's easy to imagine the citizens of Tatooine deciding it was better never to mention the Jedi.

Why Luke Skywalker Knew Less About The Jedi Than Anybody Else

Luke's Uncle Owen was particularly keen to ensure he never learned about the Jedi. He feared Luke would find himself drawn to his father's path, and that he would ultimately share the same fate as Anakin Skywalker. Given that's the case, Owen likely clamped down on Luke's lessons - perhaps even home-schooling him, with history texts carefully selected and excised. Luke seems to have only had a small social circle of friends, such as Skywalkers's mysterious Star Wars friend Tank, and presumably they never mentioned the Jedi. Luke must have had quite a shock when he traveled out into the galaxy and started hearing tales of the Jedi. It would surely have become clear to him that his ignorance was not merely the result of Imperial propaganda; rather, it was too careful, too deliberate, the result of conscious choices to control his knowledge. There is a certain degree of irony in the fact this was the man who would not only become a Jedi - but he would also bring the Jedi back.

Of course, from an out-of-universe perspective, there's a simple reason Luke's knowledge about the Clone Wars was so patchy; George Lucas hadn't written the prequels yet. Lucas has always liked to pretend he had everything planned out from the beginning, but early scripts confirm Darth Vader's origin was a retcon. It's likely Lucas' first vision of the Clone Wars didn't involve the Jedi as generals at all, with his plans for Star Wars changing by the time he got around to making Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.