1) What if the timeline ended with Zahn's original trilogy? (as it should have, if you asked me) And Luke, Jedi Knight, took Mara Jade on as his Padawan? They'd still go around the galaxy having adventures, of course. And much sniping.

2) What if Owen and Beru Lars died, and little Luke Skywalker was adopted by

Ackbar (upside: Luke gets a really good grasp on military tactics. Downside: he might go around with his eyes opened extremely wide and have this urge to make his X-Wing look like a blob)

Grand Admiral Thrawn (can you imagine Paelleon playing baby-sitter to Luke? And, upside: Luke gets a really, really good grasp on military tactics. Downside: he might start wearing red contacts, painting himself blue, and blowing all his allowance on works of art)

Talon Karrde (Upside: Luke gets to be a smuggler (always a good thing in the SW universe) and learn how to be really good in the business of intelligence gathering. Downside: He gets this urge to play the I-know-everything-you-try-to-keep-hidden-and-I'll-prove-it-in-a-smugly-subtle-way part, and he names his ships with really bad puns)

3) Luke Skywalker, a six-year-old boy from Tatooine, escapes from the Tusken Raiders attack that kills his uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. He somehow makes his way to Mos Eisley, where he is picked up by a con-man/smuggler/generally all-around criminal known as Garris Shrike. (for those of you who know the young Han Solo chronicles, you'll know where this is heading) He takes Luke in, using the child's incredible piloting and mechanical skills to earn him (Shrike, not Luke) a profit. Luke soon forgets his last name, though he tries to remember it later on. Luke finds a mother in Dewlanna, a Wookie, and an older brother in a thirteen-year-old Corellian boy who we know as Han Solo…

4) Amidala agrees to release her children to the guardianship of the Jedi on one condition: that the twins not be separated. Thus, Luke grows up alongside Leia as Luke Organa, Prince of Alderaan. Obi-Wan hangs around the Alderaanian court to dampen the twins' Force abilities – especially Luke, who is stronger and more active in the Force. Points to consider for the fic:

Luke has less aptitude than his twin for court functions, appearing restless and fidgety during them. He also hates dressing up. Leia is heir to the throne of Alderaan; Luke, the younger twin, will be Prince of the Sword, or in charge of Alderaan's armies.

When his twin is captured by Darth Vader, Luke goes off to rescue her, a la ANH-style; only he comandeers an Alderaanian starfighter instead of hiring the Falcon, with Ben Kenobi cramped in the back and trying to teach Luke as much about the Force as he can in the meantime…

5) Luke rescues Leia and Lando, but does not confront Darth Vader during ESB, thus saving himself much angst. Before going off to rescue Han, he goes back to Yoda and finishes his Jedi Knight training.

The last thing Yoda tells him before going off to be a glowing apparition (ie, dying) is that Leia is his sister – nothing about rebuilding the Jedi single-handedly, as such would give Luke an incredible amount to live up to and probably stunt his spirit, a fact Yoda recognizes after much meditation.

Luke then rescues Han, as seen in ROTJ, but the part about the Death Star II goes like this – Luke, using the Force, comes up with an incredible battle plan that allows the Rebels to destroy the DS2 while Darth Vader and the Emperor are still on it. I don't know what kind of battle plan could do this, but let's say it does.

So, to wit: Luke never learns Vader was his and Leia's father; he blows up another DS; and Benny-boy and Yoda are happy, since they wanted Luke to kill Vader anyway, without all this patricide complications cropping up.

In the newly-established New Republic (wow, that was redundant)  Luke is a Jedi Knight and the commander of Rogue Squadron – Wedge is his second-in-command, as he was in Hoth, and this certain Corellian member of the Rogues becomes Luke's first Jedi Padawan. And he establishes no Jedi Academy, on Yavin IV or elsewhere, instead using the Padawan system to begin the Jedi again. Sure it'll take longer, but this will turn out better-trained and less-prone-to-Darkside Jedi, won't it? And he never declares himself a Jedi Master. He recognizes it as incredibly presumptuos. ('sides, Jedi Knight sounds cooler'n Jedi Master, if you ask me) And Luke stays in Rogue Squadron, cos, let's face it, Luke seemed pretty darn happy as an X-Wing pilot, didn't he? It was when all this 'I must be a Jedi Knight and rebuild the Jedi Order and confront Darth Vader and defeat the Emperor and save the galaxy' stuff started that he became moody. (I blame Yoda and Obi-wan…and KJA)

6) For people who are convinced that Wedge must be head of Rogue Squadron: Same as up, but instead of being in Rogue Squadron, Luke becomes an agent of New Republic Intelligence. Can you picture it now – Luke Skywalker, Double-Oh-Seven. (snickers) Okay, so that image doesn't really suit him. During an NRI mission, Luke's contact, a certain Talon Karrde, has brought along his second-in-command, who sees Luke and then promptly tries to kill him. After figuring out the whole Last-Command thing, Luke joins Mara and Karrde as the whole Katana Fleet crisis goes, and stuff happens. Ending with Mara destroying Luuke, getting over the Emperor's Last Command. Take it from there…

7) What if Mara, Gaeriel, Callista, and Akanah had a fight over who gets Luke?

8) What if the Jedi, to be totally sure about Luke not being found by Vader, didn't send him to rimworld Tatooine, but to a planet in a totally different dimension….

Earth: without any Jedi guardian, the child is adopted by a family, and given the name Jake. He will later on meet an alien prince named Elfangor, and along with his friends, become an Animorph (oh, can you imagine when Obi-wan shows up to claim him? Luke/Jake: Sorry man, gotta defeat the Yeerk Empire before the…um, Imperial Empire.)

Earth: where he is found and adopted by Genma Saotome, who raises him alongside Ranma…

Yet another Earth: where he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…