ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. More ramblings on Twitter @ExtraTremeerial
Eleanor Tremeer

There's only one month left until [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is released, and anticipation has never been higher. There are many mysteries that are already established for The Force Awakens' story, like the familial connections of the new characters, and the secrets the villains are hiding. But most of all, we want to know just where the heck Luke Skywalker is!

Although he's bound to have a major role in Star Wars 7, the original trilogy's main protagonist has so far been conspicuously absent from the trailers. Exactly what role Luke Skywalker will play in The Force Awakens remains to be seen, though fan theories have considered every possibility (even the distinctly nutty ones). Now, JJ Abrams and the cast of Star Wars 7 have given us some more hints about Luke Skywalker's role, and there's one fact that really stands out...

Luke Skywalker Is Considered A Villain!

The idea of Luke Skywalker turning evil is hardly new: this was actually the original ending to Return Of The Jedi before the final script was written. Mark Hamill has even gone on record as saying that he'd have preferred this story, and the Expanded Universe (no longer canon) featured a plotline where Luke turned to the Dark Side.

Luke attacks Darth Vader in Return Of The Jedi
Luke attacks Darth Vader in Return Of The Jedi

Of course, this could all be smoke and mirrors when it comes to Star Wars 7. What came before obviously has a bearing on the movie, but we should never assume that The Force Awakens will go over plots we've seen before (especially EU stories). JJ Abrams loves to be misleading too, so what we think will happen might just be the opposite of what is true in Star Wars 7.

But John Boyega just revealed something crucial about Luke Skywalker that we never expected: despite Luke's heroic actions, he's already considered a villain by a lot of the galaxy.

"For Finn, he’s been raised from the ashes of the Empire. He’s been taught about Luke Skywalker, he knows about his history. For him it’s like joining the army and then learning about one of the great enemies of your country. In terms of the Force, that is the point where Finn kind of questions what is what. What is the Force, what part does Luke Skywalker play in all of this?"

This is a pretty huge revelation. So it turns out that The First Order have been putting out some serious anti-Luke Skywalker propaganda, branding him a "villain who destroyed a benevolent Empire". This makes a lot of sense really, as propaganda is a huge part of war, but there's another vital fact this statement reveals: Luke Skywalker is missing.

It's difficult to understand why such epic heroes as Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker could be forgotten by the time Star Wars 7 roles around, but as Abrams explains, this is exactly what has happened, and why it's so easy for The First Order to brand Luke a villain...

Heroes Of Legend

If you think about it, eliminating Luke Skywalker from the Force Awakens marketing was probably our biggest clue. If Luke Skywalker is missing in the film (and all signs do seem to point to this scenario), having him absent from the trailers expands the search for Skywalker into the real world as well. The fourth trailer definitely hinted that the entire film would be a race to find Luke, as The First Order are looking for him too...

Luke Skywalker must have had a good reason for becoming reclusive, but as JJ Abrams reveals, it's this choice that has actually allowed The First Order's propaganda to become so powerful.

"Doing a story that took place nearly 40 years after Jedi meant that there would be a generation for whom Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia would be as good as myth. They’d be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They’d be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale."

This means that Luke hasn't been dramatically saving lives or fighting the good fight or basically, making himself known to the universe as a hero. This is a considerable deviation from the original EU plotline, which saw Luke help to found the New Republic and train new Jedi.

Han Solo being a bit unknown in The Force Awakens makes sense: he was never one to rush into the battle and make a name for himself as a soldier. Leia, now known as General Leia, also stays away from the limelight by commanding the troops rather than fighting the battles.

Luke is quite different. In the original trilogy he was already the stuff of legend, well known to Rebel fighters as well as Imperial soldiers. The fact that he is now more myth than legend definitely implies that he's hidden himself away, offering no defence to The First Order's vicious smear campaign against him. Why would he do this? What is so important that he risks the whole galaxy thinking he's actually a villain?

Challenging Our Ideas

Questioning who Luke Skywalker really is was actually JJ Abrams' main motivation for directing The Force Awakens, so we can expect Star Wars 7 to challenge our preconceptions about this character. But this latest information does seem to have debunked the idea that Luke himself will turn to the Dark Side: why would The First Order bother to brand him a villain if he's already become one?

Luke on Endor in Return Of The Jedi
Luke on Endor in Return Of The Jedi

This is all speculation of course. The most important fact is that Luke Skywalker is already considered a villain by a large proportion of the galaxy, and while his friends battle The First Order, Luke himself seems to have hidden himself away. The how and why of this is still a mystery, but at least we don't have to wait long to find out!

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