There's less than one week to go until [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is finally released! And thanks to his elimination from Star Wars 7's impressive marketing campaign, the question on everyone's minds is: "where the heck is Luke Skywalker?" After months of pulling apart every second of footage Disney has thrown at us, there's still no sign of the elusive Jedi knight. Oh wait no, we did get this tantalising glimpse at Luke in the second trailer!
Assuming the mechanical hand belongs to Luke Skywalker, this was the last we'd see of him for a long, long time. We don't have much longer to wait, so let's count down exactly what we know, and what we don't, about Luke's role in The Force Awakens...
The Last Jedi
There are many theories about how and why Luke is missing from the trailers. Aside from the obvious real-world benefits of this marketing scheme (it's definitely generated conversation, and JJ Abrams does love his Mystery Box), it's possible that Luke Skywalker is also missing within the Star Wars universe. Is he a recluse? Is he secretly training Jedi knights? It's possible that Luke is in fact the last remaining Jedi, as this dialogue from Kylo Ren revealed...
"Together, we will destroy the Resistance and the last Jedi."
When the Kylo Ren mask was released with these lines from the film, fans quickly debated whether this meant plural Jedi, or just one. (For the record, the French release of the merchandise used the singular form of the word.)
So it's possible Luke is the only Jedi left in the galaxy. Did something terrible happen to the young Jedi he was training? Or did he just decide not to train anyone else? Until next week, we'll have to put those possibilities in the "what we don't know" category!
The Search For Luke
If Luke really is the last Jedi, it's possible that he's missing in The Force Awakens as well. In the Japanese trailer, it certainly seems as though The First Order, and Kylo Ren, are looking for someone as they ransack a town on Jakku...
As Rey and the others seem to have escaped the planet in the Falcon (hotly pursued by TIE fighters), it's likely that Kylo Ren's on the hunt for someone else. And who's that guy everyone wants to find, again? Oh yeah, Luke Skywalker.
It's possible that The Force Awakens will be a race to find Luke Skywalker first. Speculation aside, what's really clever about all this is that Abrams seems to be expanding the search for Luke Skywalker into the fanbase! By eliminating Luke from the trailers Abrams has fans hunting for Luke as keenly as the characters seem to be in Star Wars 7. Nicely done.
Ok, so Luke might be the last Jedi, and he might be in hiding. Got it. But is he good or evil? That's the question which has torn the fanbase asunder, and the answer is still a mystery. Many people are in favour of the idea that the golden boy of the original Star Wars films has turned to the Dark Side, and there's definitely some evidence and foreshadowing from Return Of The Jedi to suggest this possibility.
Some fans (more than you'd expect) are even convinced that Luke is secretly Kylo Ren, though that seems to be thoroughly debunked when JJ Abrams gushed about how good Adam Driver was at playing Kylo. However, as John Boyega later revealed, there are people in the Star Wars universe who consider Luke Skywalker a villain...
"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?"
There you have it folks: The First Order are busy spreading propaganda (to their followers at least) that Luke Skywalker was an evil terrorist who brought down the benevolent Empire. Hmm. But Boyega's words do seem to suggest another possibility for Luke...
It's possible that Luke Skywalker eventually takes up the role of a mentor to Finn and Rey, though maybe somewhat reluctantly. It's been revealed that Finn will definitely wield Luke's old lightsaber...
And though he definitely doesn't look like he's trained to use the weapon, the fact that he has it suggests that he'll ask for Luke's mentorship at the very least. As Mark Hamill revealed, Luke taking up the role of a mentor is something that George Lucas considered a long time before The Force Awakens was made...
"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.’"
But considering Lucas recently said that Disney rejected his plans for Star Wars 7, maybe this possibility is more remote than Hamill expected. It's a logical step for Luke to take, but if JJ Abrams really does want to challenge our preconceptions, then taking Luke on the path everyone expected would be the last thing Abrams would want to do.
Or maybe that's just what he wants us to think!
Of course, there are tons of other possibilities. But this is pretty much everything we know, and the potential conclusions we can draw. And ultimately, it adds up to... not much. But hey, at least we don't have long to wait now!
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