When the Star Wars cinematic universe was re-awakened by Lucasfilm, Disney, and J.J. Abrams, so was the internet speculation machine. New movies mean new revelations and participants in the Star Wars mythology. And while Poe, Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren of The Force Awakens all have intriguing backstories and plot trajectories, but the franchise is hardly done with the entire original trio. Luke Skywalker's whereabouts provide much of the mystery for the first installment of this new trilogy. And of course, Rey tracks him down in the final moments of the movie. Their scene sets the Jedi Knight up as a major part of the upcoming sequel without giving really anything away. So these Star Wars: The Last Jedi Luke theories all live within the realm of possibility.
As a reminder, here's what The Force Awakens has to say about Luke: first, he tried and failed to train Han and Leia's Force-sensitive son, Ben. When Ben was lost to the Dark Side and became Kylo Ren, Luke retreated to live in a far-away system as a hermit, like his old teacher Yoda. The jury's out still on why he left his family behind. Was it shame? Fear? Strategy? These are the gaps that I hope and expect The Last Jedi will fill in. In the meantime, here are a few guesses as to what's up with Luke in the Dec. 15 release.
1. Luke Will Return To The Resistance Base
It's the most obvious course of events, so maybe also the most unlikely. But Han's death and Kylo Ren's rise could prompt Luke to hop in the Falcon with Rey and Chewie to reunite with his sister and continue to battle the creeping forces of Fascism in the galaxy.
2. Luke Will Whisk Rey Off Somewhere To Train Her
Luke isn't surprised to see Rey and could, in fact, already know her. He certainly must feel how strong she is with the Force. And since the Jedi tradition is one of passing down wisdom to younger generations so that they can take up the fight, Luke's first priority could be to commence Rey's training somewhere they won't be interrupted. On the other hand, he recently had a fairly negative experience with teaching. And Rey is stronger than even Luke was when he learned of his own power. Does she need it?
3. Rey Will Learn About Her Family From Luke
Someone has to know from whom Rey came from. And since Luke wasn't around for the last movie, chances are good that he could be that person. Rey has been waiting for so long to get some closure on the family front. I hope for her sake that Luke can offer that. (And for the record, I think she's a Kenobi descendant.)
4. Luke Will Die By Kylo Ren's Hand
Kylo wants to "finish" what Darth Vader began, and Luke was the biggest obstacle between him and his original goal. Luke will never turn to the Dark Side, so Kylo Ren's only real option is to destroy him completely. Though, he'd be repeating the same mistake as Vader, who only enabled Obi-Wan to become "more powerful" by killing him.
5. Luke & Kylo Ren Are Secretly Working Together
Then there's the "double agent" theory, perhaps first posited publicly by a Tumblr user Letícia Piroutek and boosted by Buzzfeed. What if Kylo Ren was placed in The First Order by Luke in a plan they both concocted to bring Supreme Leader Snoke down? Then the Han Solo death scene could have been more of a Snape/Dumbledore situation than cold-blooded patricide. The hurdle to clear here is Kylo Ren's spoiled brat attitude. Is it all an act? Is he that Method? Would Luke have condoned him razing an entire village as a part of his performance? I think there's too much death here for his actions to be a part of a Light Side scheme.
6. Luke Has Found The Gray Area Between The Dark And The Light
Screenrant's Alex Leadbeater wrote a persuasive piece wondering if Luke Skywalker could have become more of a Jedi centrist at this age. Gray Jedi exist between the Dark and the Light, committing completely to neither and rejecting the strict belief system of the Order. "A logical conclusion of this thread would be for Luke to have done away with the flawed structures of the past and find a new middle-ground to the Force," Leadbeater said. "Thus, The Last Jedi will quite literally show the end of the Jedi."
Luke was a straightforward, goodhearted character in the initial Star Wars trilogy. In this continuation, his experience has made him a character who's much more difficult to pin down.