Before [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) was released, the internet was wild with speculation about Luke Skywalker's omission from the trailers. Had he turned bad, following in Darth Vader's footsteps? Or was he dead? JJ Abrams coyly refused to answer any questions about this, though he did admit that questioning "who is Luke Skywalker" was what persuaded him to direct Star Wars 7.
In the end, the reason Luke Skywalker didn't appear in the trailers was what we suspected all along: because he didn't appear much in the movie. Which was honestly the best thing for The Force Awakens, as Luke's absence prevented Rey and Finn from being eclipsed by the legendary character. But after Episode 7 ended with Rey reaching out to Luke, we're left wondering where their story will lead next. And hopefully, it will be to greatness.
* spoilers ahead! *
Now we know for sure why Luke Skywalker exiled himself before The Force Awakens: his nephew, Ben Solo, was corrupted by the Dark Side and slaughtered his fellow Jedi students. Luke seems to blame himself for this, going in search of the first Jedi temple and abandoning the Resistance. Whether he will even agree to teach Rey remains to be seen, but there's one thing we'd like to see happen in Episode 8 or 9...
Finding More Potential Jedi
There's many reasons it would be fantastic to see Luke and Rey seek out and train new Force Sensitive people. Firstly, it would break away from the chosen one plot which Star Wars has followed so far. Yes, Rey is the new hope for the galaxy, but the great thing about the Force is that it moves through everyone. You don't have to be super special to use it, and you definitely don't have to be a Skywalker.
JJ Abrams actually commented on the inclusive nature of the Force, and how everyone should grow up feeling they could be a Jedi.
"Being strong with the Force didn’t mean something scientific, it meant something spiritual. It meant someone who could believe, someone who could reach down to the depths of your feelings and follow this primal energy that was flowing through all of us. I mean, that’s what was said in that first film!"
But Force Sensitivity alone does not a Jedi make: Leia is strong in the Force, but chose to become a General for the Resistance instead of train with Luke. Of course, some people have a stronger connection to the Force than others, which is why Rey is able to channel the Force in her final battle with Kylo Ren.
I'm not suggesting that Episode 8 should deal primarily with seeking out and training new Jedi. Rey's training has to take precedent, as she learns out to master her abilities. But ultimately, finding others like her would be a fantastic journey for the characters take, and it would also serve to redeem Luke's mistakes with Kylo Ren. However, when it comes to building a new Order, there are some stumbling blocks.
A New Jedi Order
The danger in establishing a new Jedi Order is that this might make the new saga too close to the prequels. In the prequels, the Jedi Order was vast and powerful, but it's important not to idealise them. Their shortsightedness and restrictions allowed Anakin Skywalker to fall to the Dark Side, and they were ultimately brought down by their own hubris. In the Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker reformed the Order when he trained new students, changing the rules so that knights were free to fall in love and marry.
It would be fantastic to see a new dawn of the Jedi, and this could also provide some much needed world building. The lore of Star Wars is fascinating: the little explanations Yoda gave about the Jedi and the Force in The Empire Strikes Back added to the appeal of the story. For Rey, who believed the Jedi to be a myth (just like Luke did), training with one of the most powerful Jedi Knights will be a fantastic experience, and we can't wait to see it. But the story should push beyond that.
Ideally, it would be great to see others discover their abilities just like Rey did. Perhaps the title of The Force Awakens refers not just to Rey, but to a general awakening throughout the galaxy. There are strong hints that Finn might also be Force Sensitive, and as Episode 8 will add new characters to the story it's possible they could also become Jedi students.
All in all, the next two films in the Star Wars saga are filled with potential. But it would be fantastic to see Luke Skywalker follow the same path he did in the Expanded Universe, establishing a reformed Jedi Order and pushing the story to new heights.