[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is almost here (62 days away!) and the speculation is really heating up about what role each character will play in the film. Since it was confirmed that he would indeed return, Luke Skywalker's role has been hotly debated, with rumours flying about how he'll factor in to the Star Wars 7 story. Lately though, new hints have painted a clearer picture of what we can expect from Luke Skywalker, and Mark Hamill himself may have revealed the Jedi's crucial role...
What We Know So Far
Clearly, Luke Skywalker is going to have a big influence of the plot of Star Wars 7, and we may already have a good idea of exactly how that will happen. The most credible theory is that Skywalker is a bit of a recluse, taking a step back from leading the Resistance and maybe going into hiding. This idea has been prompted by several hints, most notably the film's synopsis...
"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."
It's easy to decipher which characters the synopsis describes (eg: scavenger = Rey), and the most powerful warrior is most likely a reference Luke Skywalker himself. But why would the new heroes have to "find" him?
Many fans speculated that The Force Awakens would follow similar character development to the Expanded Universe, wherein Luke trains new Jedi warriors and is a founding member of the New Republic. However, Star Wars 7 seems to be taking a totally different path: the New Republic doesn't seem to have been established, as the Resistance are still at war with the First Order, the Stormtrooper legacy of the Empire. This makes sense, as Disney want to establish a very different version of events so that fans can't predict the plot of the new films.
So what does that mean for Luke? Whereas he trained many Jedi in the EU, the latest hints for The Force Awakens imply that he is in fact the only Jedi left in the galaxy. This spoiler comes to us courtesy of new Kylo Ren merchandise, which includes some of the character's lines from Star Wars 7.
"Together, we will destroy the Resistance and the last Jedi."
While some fans pointed out that as the plural of Jedi is in fact Jedi, and Ren's words could mean destroying a group of people, the French release confirmed that actually, Ren was referring to just one person ("dernier Jedi" is the singular form). Therefore so far we know that Luke Skywalker is probably the last Jedi left, and this might be the reason he went into hiding.
Of course, he could still have trained other Jedi, only to have them fall prey to First Order attacks, but as that's pretty similar to the Jedi massacre plot of Revenge Of The Sith, it's more likely that he just never trained anyone else. Until Star Wars 7, that is...
Recluse Turned Mentor
If you've been following all the plot hints and leaks, some of the story of The Force Awakens does seem to be pretty clear (unless they've been deliberately misleading us of course). In case you missed any, here's a quick breakdown of what we can expect, from Rey's introduction at least...
- We meet Rey on Jakku, and she teams up with Finn.
- As Finn seems to have defected from The First Order, the Stormtrooper army are pursuing him.
- Maybe because Finn stole Luke Skywalker's legendary lightsaber.
- They flee Jakku under fire, likely in the Millennium Falcon.
- Promo photos revealed Rey and Finn team up with Han and Chewie.
- At some point they go to Maz Kanata's space pirate haven for advice.
- Ultimately, Rey and Finn (and Poe Dameron) embark on a mission to find Luke Skywalker, probably to help take down Kylo Ren.
- Oh and Finn will have a lightsaber battle with Ren of course.
So it seems that Luke won't even come into the plot until the very end (check out the time signature on the leaked photo above: it's 1 hour 53 minutes into the movie), whereupon Finn and Rey will probably implore him to train them.
Whether Luke will agree or not remains to be seen, but Mark Hamill confessed in an interview that the idea of an older Luke taking up Obi Wan's mantle was planned even before Star Wars 7 was announced.
"George Lucas said once would I consider playing an Obi-Wan [Kenobi] type character handing Excalibur down to the next generation. At the time I said, ‘When would that be?’ and he said, ‘Oh, around 2011.’"
All signs certainly seem to point towards Luke eventually becoming a mentor figure for the young heroes, though he may not agree to their request. Many theories have suggested Luke went into hiding in the first place because he was concerned about the extent of his power. Of course we don't know whether becoming reclusive was to protect himself or because he believed he shouldn't train others to harness their Force Sensitive abilities. But this does seem to play into what we know so far about his role in Star Wars 7.
Personally, I'm kinda disappointed that we won't see the EU version of Luke in The Force Awakens: optimistic about the future and passionate about establishing his reformed Jedi Order. But who knows, maybe this is still a possibility for Luke, but he has yet to follow this path
As for where he's hiding, we might just have a good idea about that...
He was in The Muppet Show all along!
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