Luke Skywalker has to be something pretty special in Star Wars Episode 8.
That is just a simple fact, a necessity that the next instalment of Star Wars has to make sure they get right. After being drip-fed information on the franchises biggest character prior to the release of the Force Awakens – and being treated to just a few seconds of a mournful Mark Hamill in the film itself – Episode 8 has to deliver.
Not much is known about Luke since the events of Return of the Jedi. He trained Kylo Ren and went looking for the first Jedi Temple, but quite why he fled during the Resistance’s moment of need is a question yet to be answered.
There must be a pretty dramatic, imaginative explanation for his antics. After all, this is the farmer’s boy that destroyed the first Death Star, went toe to toe with the fearsome Darth Vader (twice) and finally brought balance to the force. He doesn’t exactly seem the sort to shy away from a challenge.
The common consensus seems to be that Luke is now the strongest Jedi to ever roam the galaxy. The mantle that once belonged to his father has passed down to him and, with it, the temptations of the dark side. Exile is apparently the only way to stop him destroying the ones he holds closest.
There is another rumour doing the rounds however, that it was Luke – and not Kylo Ren – that slaughtered his pupils from his Jedi academy. Kylo and the Knights of Ren could have been sworn to secrecy over the whole thing, and it would echo the antics of Anakin who killed the younglings in Revenge of the Sith.
Luke’s role will now appear to be that of teacher, similar to Sir Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Original Trilogy. His job is to train Rey to be a Jedi, despite her already-heavily-developed skills with a lightsaber. Still, even the best need help at times, right?
Despite his age, it would be foolish to assume we have seen him fight his last fight. His relationship with Ben Solo was hinted at in TFA and it would be no surprise to see him battle his old apprentice, perhaps with devastating consequences. Giving in to a murderous rage would see him fall to the dark side even if it would go some way to eliminating the threat of the First Order.
And if he doesn’t fight Kylo, then what about Supreme Leader Snoke? The new trilogy’s version of Emperor Palpatine is sure to showcase his powers at some point in Episodes 8 and 9. It could involve a stunning battle to the death which may lead to Rey battling the Supreme Leader himself.
Sigh…Luke just has to be great. We have waited years to see the (at present) final Skywalker again. Episode 8 must get it right or face failing a whole generation of fans.