(Warning – the following contains both potential plot SPOILERS for future Star Wars movies, and at least one definite one for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Also, it's pretty dark, peace-of-mind-shattering stuff. As Yoda so sagely advised Taylor Swift that one time: "Say I did not say I did not warn you, do not...")
Now, the Star Wars saga has never been one to shy away from darkness. From the very beginning of the original trilogy, death on both a galactic and a very personal scale has been near ever-present, with beloved mentors, planets and murder-moons all having a tendency to be horrifyingly destroyed in front of our impressionable eyes. With the prequels featuring similarly high levels of murder, loss and padawan-slaughter, it's fair to say that our beloved galaxy far, far away is not the easiest place to survive without a whole lot of moral compromise and PTSD.
Something which, it seems, very much remains the case in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Y'see...
There Might Just Be a Seriously Dark Secret Hiding in 'The Force Awakens'
That, at least, is the latest fan-conjured theory to make it onto the interweb. It seems that one of the most iconic heroes the world has ever known - Luke Skywalker - might have been forced to do something truly horrifying between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Specifically, according to the theory recently posited by intrepid Redditor boyohboyoboy:
(Note - this is where those aforementioned giant, hulking SPOILERS come in...)
Luke Skywalker Might Have Been the One Who Killed His Jedi Students
That's right. Remember those students Luke was training, who were killed as part of Kylo Ren's transition to the Dark Side? The ones we thought we saw standing beneath the Knights of Ren (but didn't actually)?
Well, as it turns out, they might just have met their end at the hands of Luke Skywalker himself. As boyohboyoboy theorizes:
"Luke killed them. His students turned to the Dark Side and he was forced to kill them to stop them from going on to do something terrible."
Which, in turn, would explain why Luke's response to Kylo Ren turning to the Dark Side wasn't to try to stop him or bring him back to the Light, but to withdraw into isolation:
"This terrible failure as a teacher explains why he was so disheartened as to vanish into exile."
Just like his master before him...
What other response could he possibly have to having had to perform such horrific actions, whether or not they were the right thing to do? After all, in this scenario:
"...Though Kylo Ren / Snoke corrupted and destroyed the new Jedi order, it was Luke who cut them down."
Something which would position his narrative arc as less the savior of the Jedi, and more a mirror of the failings of both his father and his mentors:
"From a storytelling perspective, it also parallels Anakin's killing of the younglings, the sins of the father echoing painfully. It also parallels the misdirection and deception of Vader killing Anakin."
The big question, though?
Could the Theory Actually Be True?
Well, on the one hand, it would certainly make for one hell of a twist - and a seriously awkward conversation between Luke and Rey (who, in this scenario, would presumably be one of the few Jedi who didn't turn against Luke, and who he sent away for her own protection). What's more, with John 'Finn' Boyega recently teasing a "much darker" Episode VIII, it's by no means impossible that we could see the next movie explore as horrifying a choice as killing your apprentices to save the galaxy.
On the other hand, though, there's something about the idea of Luke killing his own students that just doesn't quite gel with what we know about him as a hero and as a man - and that raises questions over whether it would be possible for him to make such a cold, compromising and utterly pragmatic decision while still staying true to the Light Side of the Force, unlike his father's brutal decision to kill the youngest generation of Jedi to cement his path to the Dark Side:
That being said, we don't actually know for sure that Luke is still treading the path of the Light. Could some remnant of fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano's approach to the Force - that of neither the Jedi nor the Sith - yet find its way into the movies?
We likely won't find out until Episode VIII arrives in a little under two years time - but in the meantime? Nicely played boyohboyoboy. Nicely played indeed...
What do you think, though?