The Force Awakens: Oh Luke Where Art Thou?

Star Wars fans everywhere are buzzing after the latest The Force Awakens trailer dropped during Monday Night Football last week. The trailer capped a couple of days of preview candy as Disney had released the official poster for the film a few days earlier. With the poster and trailer now available for public consumption, there’s one question nagging longtime fans of the series: Where’s Luke?

Star Wars- The Force AwakensRey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren are all featured prominently on the poster and there’s even a brief glimpse of the new Death Star 3.0. Upon closer inspection of the poster, series mainstays Han Solo, General Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 are all there as well minus one particularly significant figure. The missing piece to this puzzle is Jedi hero, Luke Skywalker and it raises some interesting questions – especially since he’s practically absent from the most recent trailer as well.

What follows next is my theory – which basically means disregard anything you read here because I know even less than a scruffy nerf-herder. If the poster was fan art and the trailer was a fan film, then Luke’s absence may be seen as an oversight. This is Disney however, so Luke’s omission was not by chance. Clues to why he’s been so scarce can be seen in a few things including an early teaser trailer, Han Solo’s voiceover in the latest trailer and the film’s title.

In one of the first teasers for the film, Luke’s voice is heard talking to someone about how the Force runs strong in his family. “My father has it, I have it, my sister has it. You have that power too.” Luke’s words accompany a shot of his bionic hand touching R2-D2 and he’s obviously giving someone a history lesson and preparing them for the next phase of that character’s evolution.

Continuing the history lesson is our favorite intergalactic septaugenarian scoundrel, Han Solo.  “It’s true. All of it,“ he begins. “The dark side. The Jedi. They’re real.”  The events of the Battle of Endor, now roughly thirty years in the past are from a time long forgotten. Taking into account what happened in Episode III and Jedis have essentially been off the scene for close to 60 years. Their existence is more myth than fact. For the general populace of the Star Wars universe, Jedis and their Sith counterparts are the equivalent of interstellar Dodo birds.

The Force Awakens, a title some fans weren’t wild about, means just that. After being dormant for some time, the Force and those who wield it are back. Kylo Ren, a disciple of the dark side, worships Vader and in the trailer utters “I’m going to finish what you started,” while the burned remnants of Vader’s helmet flashes across the screen. His goal is to wipe out the last of the Jedi. Ren’s lightsaber created quite a buzz and its red blade leaves nothing to the imagination as to which side he’s on.

The other character using a lightsaber is Finn. He’s got a blue one and the trailers have teased an eventual showdown between he and Ren. How did Finn get a lightsaber? If it wasn’t given to him, how would he have known how to make it? Is Finn even Force sensitive? Many questions still abound but they all lead to my kooky “Where’s Luke?” theory.

After Vader’s death and essentially being the last of the Jedi, I surmise that Luke left his military career behind and has been gone for decades somewhere off in the galaxy far, far away trying to further hone his skills and rebuild the Jedi Order. Mark Hamill has been seen sporting a kickass beard in some photos released from the set so I assume he has now inherited the Obi-Wan role. With the majority of the focus now on the younger leads, look for Luke to pull a Lando Calrissian and appear in the latter half or even third act of the film.  This way he can serve as the mentor to any force sensitive characters that will require training and his return will be just in time to help his old pals and the new kids stave off the threat posed by Ren.

At least I hope so….