Luke Skywalker's role in [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is shrouded in mystery. He's definitely going to have a pivotal part to play, though exactly what that entails remains to be seen. But with plenty of leaks and hints, there are many theories on Luke Skywalker's appearance in Star Wars 7, and some may have more credence than others.
In the run up to the film's release, Disney have been very shrewd in their marketing, using everything from new toys to books to reveal hints about the plot. The latest merchandise is no exception: a Kylo Ren action figure and mask which delivers lines from the movie has the internet buzzing with speculation. But what could this merchandise mean for Luke Skywalker in Star Wars 7?
Deviating From The Path
There's just one quote from Kylo Ren that seems to directly refer to Luke, and what it implies is definitely interesting in the context of the other information we have about Skywalker. Without further ado, here's the Kylo Ren line.
"Together, we will destroy the Resistance and the last Jedi."
The Jedi in question is presumably Luke, but what's interesting about it is the way he's referred to as the "last", especially when we consider the Expanded Universe.
Known as Legends after the Disney declared it non canon, the Expanded Universe is a collection of books, comics, and games that extended the Star Wars story after the original films, and was considered canon during the prequel era.
In this continuity, Luke continued the Jedi tradition by training others, and established a New Jedi Order. Obviously, this is no longer part of the movie story, but many fans assumed that Luke would still want to train others in the ways of the Force. Now it turns out they may have been wrong: why would Kylo Ren refer to Luke Skywalker as the last Jedi, if there were new Jedi being trained?
On its own, this tidbit of information doesn't seem like much, though it does beg the question of why Luke made the decision not to pass on Obi Wan and Yoda's teachings. Was he simply too busy with helping the Resistance? Or maybe there's a more sinister reason for Luke not training other Jedi - because he's turning to the Dark Side himself!
Succumbing To The Dark Side
The idea of evil Luke Skywalker has been tossed around since Star Wars Episode 7 was announced.
With a history of bouncing between good and bad, the Skywalker family are prone to sudden shifts in morality. The Return Of The Jedi played with this idea, as father and son tried to persuade each other to their side. Of course, in the end it was Darth Vader who turned back to the Light, but has his son finally succumbed to the temptation of the Dark Side?
This could be the reason that Luke is considered the "last" Jedi, but there are lot of problems with this theory. Firstly, Kylo Ren still talks about defeating this Jedi, and if Luke really had turned to the Dark Side, why would Kylo Ren talk about him and the Resistance as being a united front? Mark Hamill himself also seemed to debunk this theory with his comments last year: when asked whether Luke would be evil in Star Wars 7, he compared Luke's journey in The Force Awakens to The Return Of The Jedi.
"Well, part of the answer to that question involves what I thought of the script to my final chapter. Episode VI indicated that Luke would be terribly conflicted and possibly be giving in to his darker impulses to achieve short term goals. Now I had no question that he would redeem himself at the very end, but I thought that George would go in the direction of Luke betraying someone before he realized the error of his ways. So I was enormously mislead. I mean I was completely wrong on that assumption."
Hamill cleverly sidestepped the question while providing the hint that no, Luke won't be evil in Star Wars Episode 7. It would be a very boring backtrack to a plot that was used in both the original 3 films and the prequels. But what we do know of Luke's character in The Force Awakens is far more interesting...
Reclusive & Isolated: Skywalker Alone
So here's what we know so far. Luke isn't actually hanging around with Leia and Han and the rest of the Resistance, but is in hiding. The fact that Rey and Finn will team up with Han Solo to find Luke has been the subject of most theories and does seem to line up with the evidence we've seen so far, especially that mysterious lightsaber Finn wields. This of course begs the question: why has Luke decided to become a recluse? Well, we just might have the answer to that!
Yup, this all comes back, yet again, to the idea of the secret Sith artifact archive, and the mysterious Grave Robber who stands guard over the stash. This enigmatic figure was revealed by concept art and while I'm not suggesting that Luke is the Grave Robber (though it's possible - check out the right hand!), the archive of artifacts still might be a part of Luke's plot.
Last year CinemaBlend reported the theory that Luke Skywalker may have been appointed the guardian of this Sith tomb, to prevent acolytes of the Dark Side from reaching it. The tomb was supposedly filmed on location at Skellig Island in Ireland, an area which is being used again for Star Wars Episode 8. And of course, Mark Hamill has been spotted there for both shoots (in 2014 for Star Wars Episode 7, and 2015 for Star Wars 8).
So Luke is isolated and somewhat reclusive, and has chosen not to train more Jedi... yet. But the appearance of Finn wielding the lightsaber, along with what Luke says in the trailer does imply that eventually he'll take on the role of the reluctant mentor, training Finn (and maybe Rey too!) in the ways of the Force so they can take down the First Order and Kylo Ren.
Right now it seems like Star Wars Episode 7 will end with Finn and Rey finding Luke, and discovering he's not quite as they imagined, while Star Wars 8 will deal with him training them to be Jedi. But we'll have to wait until December 18th to find out!