The journey to [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) has been an exciting one, and with a mere 3 months left until the films release, we're starting to piece together a good idea of the plot from hints and leaks. And wow, have we had a real plethora of teasers lately!
The new book Aftermath hinted at the origins of Kylo's cult the Knights Of Ren, and we may even see the return of fan fave Boba Fett. Perhaps the most exciting hint lately came in the form of an extended teaser trailer, which revealed that John Boyega's Finn will play a much more important role than we expected...
We've already talked about the possibilities of Jedi Finn, but there's one piece of the Star Wars 7 puzzle that is even more intriguing: the lightsaber he wields, and its crucial connection to Luke Skywalker.
There are few things we know for certain about Star Wars Episode 7, but thanks to the synopsis we do know that this is ultimately a quest story, as our trio of young heroes go in search of a Jedi Master in an attempt to stop a new evil from rising to power...
"When a ruthless prince rises to power and threatens galactic peace, a runaway soldier, an uncongenial scavenger, and a hot shot pilot find their fates intertwined as they embark on a journey to find the most powerful warrior in the galaxy."
Well, we can add the names to each of these characters described: the prince is probably Kylo Ren, the soldier, scavenger, and pilot are Finn, Rey, and Poe respectively. And the most powerful warrior in the galaxy? This one's a bit more ambiguous but all the latest hints do point towards the warrior being Luke Skywalker. The biggest hint about this so far has been the lightsaber that Finn wields.
If you've been paying very close attention to the steady stream of tiny teasers we've had about Star Wars 7, you'll already know about this lightsaber's importance. We've had hints about it from the very beginning, even in Finn's concept art! Check this out...
And if you're one of those beady-eyed fans that keep the speculation mill running, you'll have spotted that this lightsaber is very close in design to Luke Skywalker's first lightsaber. The hilt is practically identical, as is the colour of the blade (as revealed in the new teaser), and many people have taken this as evidence that this is indeed Skywalker's saber. Which is of huge importance of course. So before we think about how this feeds in to Luke's role in The Force Awakens, let's take a quick trip down memory lane...
The Family Legacy
Of course, Luke was first given this lightsaber by "Ben" Kenobi in A New Hope, when Obi Wan mentioned that the weapon belonged to Luke's father.
Ben: Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade like your father did.
Luke: What is it?
Ben: Your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.
Thanks to the prequels, we know that Anakin made this lightsaber himself, after he lost his first one on Geonosis. The lightsaber helps to tie the two films together, and becomes a symbol of dramatic irony when Luke confronts Darth Vader. Before discovering the truth about his father, Luke loses both the lightsaber and his hand in one of the original trilogy's most iconic scenes.
But where did this lightsaber fly off to? The Expanded Universe (alas, no longer canon) continued the story of the lightsaber in the Thrawn trilogy of books: in the end, Luke gives it to ex-Empire assassin Mara Jade, which is a nice representation of her character development from dark side lacky to Jedi Knight.
In the new canon however, we have no idea who salvaged the lightsaber after the battle in Bespin's Cloud City, or how it fell into Finn's hands. But its reappearance does hint at the role Luke Skywalker might play in Star Wars 7!
The Student Becomes The Teacher
The most accepted theory about the lightsaber is that it will be our new heroes' duty to deliver it back into the hands of Luke Skywalker, who has gone into hiding for some reason. But how did they get the saber? Well, as the theories would have it, Finn actually stole the weapon from the First Order, which is why they're pursuing him so viciously. Remember that the lightsaber was Anakin's before it was Luke's! We've already had plenty of hints about a collection of Darth Vader related artifacts hoarded by a mysterious figure known only as the Grave Robber...
Could this enigmatic collector be an acolyte of the Knights of Ren, or even Kylo himself? It's certainly possible! And it would give Kylo Ren a personal vendetta against Finn when he faces him in that lightsaber duel (could we get yet ANOTHER dismembering disarming move?).
I'm getting sidetracked, which is very easy to do when discussing Star Wars 7 - all the theories and teasers weave into each other to build a larger picture. But as far as Luke Skywalker is concerned, the lightsaber's appearance certainly hints at him embodying the mentor role, as Obi Wan did before him. That's if the heroes can find him, of course.
It's a fair bet to say that The Force Awakens will deal with Rey, Finn and Poe's journey to find Luke, and their struggle to escape the First Order and Kylo Ren. Episode 8 will probably explore Luke's role further, as a reluctant mentor, strongest warrior figure, or even a villain, as some fan theories posit (though that idea's pretty tired by now).
And as for the lightsaber? Well, it did pop up in the long trailer, and it certainly looks like someone is handing it over to Leia... so will it eventually find its way back to Luke?
I guess we'll have to wait until December 18th to find out!