In the run up to Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, we're going to be subject to many a crazy rumor, cracked fan theory, and ludicrous speculation. After The Force Awakens treated us to excellent theories like Darth Jar Jar (which, if true, is a goddamn stroke of genius), we're all looking forward to what The Last Jedi will inspire — and this particular theory is just crazy enough to be true.
If you've been following #TheLastJedi gossip, you'll know that Force sensitive trees have long been rumored to play a prominent role in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. This rumor sprung from Ahch-To set reports and thanks to the fact that Luke's island is filmed on location in Ireland, several sneaky fans snapped telling pics of the production. Right at the center of Luke's rocky island vacay is a gigantic ancient tree. And going by clues in the trailer it looks like Luke's gone full hermit and is living in said tree — something that will be vitally important to the plot, because Star Wars.
Here's what we know of Luke Skywallker's plot in Star Wars 8 already: despite the fact that he thinks the Jedi should "end," we do see him training Rey in the ways of the Force. Many people have taken this as proof that Luke thinks it is time for a new kind of Force-user to rise, which would explain why he has Rey reading from what appears to be the Journal of the Whills. Rey and Luke seemingly become embroiled in a plot that goes to the heart of what the Force is, possibly revealing Rey's true identity along the way. But what in the heck do trees have to do with this? As it turns out, everything.
Use The Trees, Rey
Before I get to the history of Force sensitive trees in Star Wars lore, let's examine the evidence from The Last Jedi trailer. There are two shots from what seems to be the interior of Luke's dwelling place — the shot of books on a shelf, and the trailer's dramatic final shot of Luke being all doom and gloom about the Jedi. At first glance, it's easy to assume this is the interior of a cave, but look closer...
When the screenshots are brightened, the tree's old branches and trunk are thrown into sharp relief. It seems that Luke has taken up residence inside the mysterious tree itself, or is perhaps using it in Rey's training.
The importance of this only comes into play when we look back at the role trees have played in #StarWars mythology in the past. The most obvious example would be Yoda's weird tree cave thing in The Empire Strikes Back — the one Luke ventures into only to find a ghostly Darth Vader, who is wearing Luke's face under the mask. Hands up if that emotionally scarred you as a kid!
Over the years, many have speculated that the trees on Dagobah might have Force sensitive properties. Later on, Marvel and Lucasfilm published several comics before The Force Awakens was released. One of them, called Shattered Empire, featured the appearance of more Force sensitive trees as Luke recruited Shara Bey (Poe Dameron's mother) to help him steal them back from the Empire.
As Luke revealed to Shara, these two branches were the only surviving remnants of a Force sensitive tree that stood in the Jedi temple on Coruscant. At the time, fans didn't think much of this, but some speculated that this was a subtle hint from Lucasfilm that Force sensitive trees would become relevant later on in the sequel trilogy. Now it looks like they were right.
Kylo Ren Attacks Ahch-To
Before we get on to some pertinent rumors about Kylo Ren's involvement in all this, let's draw some quick conclusions that may or may not veer into wild speculation. Early set reports talked about the tree's ancient origin, dating back millennia to when the first Jedi discovered the Force. In The Force Awakens, Han Solo mentions that Luke "went looking for the first Jedi temple." All of this adds up to an interesting possibility: the tree on Ahch-To is all that remains of the first Jedi temple, making it an incredibly valuable relic that holds secrets about the very nature of the Jedi.
And this is probably why Kylo Ren wants to destroy it.
Recently, MakingStarWars published a set report of the tree being set alight by none other than the galaxy's resident Vader wannabe, Kylo Ren. Or rather, MakingStarWars reported that the tree was in flames, which seemed to follow a sequence in which Kylo and the Knights of Ren arrive on Ahch-To and wreck all kinds of havoc. That sequence was reported months ago, and until now, we all assumed that Kylo Ren was after Luke Skywalker and seeking vengeance on Rey. Now however, another motive has become clear: Kylo Ren may want to destroy the tree, causing huge repercussions in the Force and the galaxy itself.
The Theories Awaken: Read On For More Star Wars
- 'The Last Jedi' Trailer: More Flashbacks From Rey's Vision
- The Journal Of The Whills Appeared In 'Episode 8' Trailer
- That Darth Jar Jar Theory Is Back, With Added Snoke
Of course, the tree being set alight could be a vision much like the one Luke experienced in The Empire Strikes Back, intended to show Rey what might happen if she and Luke fail in their mission. Or perhaps Luke is trying to show her that the conflict between Jedi and dark siders will only end in destruction. Whether Kylo Ren actually destroys the tree or not, the upshot of all of this is clear — trees are gonna be really, really important in The Last Jedi.
Do you think the Jedi will end with Luke?
[Poll image credit: Lucasfilm]