5 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Fan Theories That Don't Involve Luke Being Kylo Ren

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 - 3:11PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 - 3:11PM
5 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Fan Theories That Don't Involve Luke Being Kylo Ren
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December 18 can't come fast enough, but it is coming up, and there's an elephant in the room. Through all of the trailers, posters, teaser photos, and other promotional materials, we still haven't seen Luke Skywalker, even though the rest of the old guard has made an appearance. He may have appeared briefly to put his robot hand on R2-D2, but that's it:

Who Is Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

J.J. Abrams and co. have been very good about spoilers, so his recent weigh-in did not give us any new information at all.

Opening quote
"These are good questions to be asking. I can't wait for you to find out the answer," Abrams said when asked about Luke's absence. "It's no accident."
Closing quote

Well, OBVIOUSLY it's not an accident. Luke was the anchor of the original trilogy, and he's the second-billed cast member, so there must be some reason he's been conspicuously absent. There have been many fan theories going around to explain his omission, the most famous being that Luke is really Kylo Ren. We think this is a dumb theory, since we've seen Ren without his mask, and he's clearly Adam Driver. But here are a few others that may actually be plausible, vaguely in order of least to most interesting:

He's a surprise

Considering that Disney and Lucasfilm have kept the lid impossibly tight on spoilers, and seem to take the element of surprise very seriously, it's possible that they're keeping Luke a secret just for the sake of the reveal in the film. I think this is somewhat unlikely, because it would be sort of a letdown if there weren't some significant spoiler associated with Luke's appearance after all of this speculation, but there's a chance that they just want fans to scream bloody murder when he comes onscreen, like they did for Chewie, We're Home

He's in hiding

Many have speculated that Luke hasn't shown up in any of the trailers because he's in hiding for most of the movie. If he only shows up for the third act, or even for one final shot at the end, then it would make sense that his appearance would be withheld from the trailers. It's possible that he is emotionally exhausted after the events of the original trilogy, and goes into hiding to do the traumatized war hero thing, only to reappear in the third act to either serve as a mentor or kick some ass. Some leaks from the set have suggested that the plot of the film involves a "search for Luke," and that they haven't revealed him yet because his reappearance is the climax of the film.

This seems plausible, although Mark Hamill is technically second-billed after Harrison Ford, who seems to have a huge role in the film. He would have to have a very large role in the last act of the film to justify this, but maybe that's the case here. Or, maybe they're just trying to throw fans off. Who knows?

He dies at the beginning

Again, who knows how likely this is considering Mark Hamill's billing, but many have speculated that he dies at the beginning of The Force Awakens. Some argue that he must survive the events of The Force Awakens because Mark Hamill has been seen filming in Skellig for Episode VIII, but this isn't necessarily true. Obi-Wan was credited for all three of the original trilogy, and was only alive for the first film. Luke could easily die and return as a Force ghost. But still, we don't think this is very likely. If anyone is going to die of the original three, it's probably going to be Han Solo, as Harrison Ford has wanted to kill off the character for years.

Kylo Ren is Luke's son

This is a more plausible version of that popular fan theory, courtesy of Reddit user wrathborne. Kylo Ren isn't Luke, he's Luke's son, and the trilogy will once again be centered around a struggle between good and evil represented by a father and son, but in reverse.

However, it might be more likely that Ren is Han and Leia's son (which probably means that Finn is Luke's son). The Expanded Universe has been officially thrown out by Lucasfilm, which means Abrams and co. are free to steal whichever stories they'd like. And in the Expanded Universe, Han and Leia have a son, Jacen Solo, who turns evil for a time. He also has a Jedi twin sister, Jaina, who looks an awful lot like Rey, a character who has been rumored to be Leia and Han's Force-sensitive daughter from the get-go. This theory is also supported by the fact that Rey's staff is parallel to Ren's lightsaber in the official poster (which also places Rey between the Light and Dark sides, indicating that she may turn evil at some point). 

Luke is the Big Bad

Luke is probably not Kylo Ren, but there is a chance that he is the leader of the villainous Knights of Ren, and the primary antagonist of the series. There is actually a lot of evidence to support this seemingly crazy notion; Kathleen Kennedy stated that she got J.J. Abrams on board to direct by asking "Who is Luke Skywalker?", and Mark Hamill himself pitched the idea to J.J. Abrams and stated that evil Luke Skywalker would be "more fun to play" as an actor. 

Plus, some fans have argued that there were clues in the original trilogy that Luke was going to turn bad. While Luke was training to be a Jedi in Empire Strikes Back, Yoda warned him that he would be more susceptible to the Dark Side if he didn't finish his training. We never see him finish his training, and then in Return of the Jedi, he has become super powerful in the interim, but it's never made clear where he learned all those new tricks. As a result, it's possible that he began his turn to the Dark Side in order to defeat Vader and the Empire.

To be perfectly honest, I really want this to be true. It would be so incredibly bold, and would set up a redemption arc that could carry the entire trilogy. But I doubt this will actually happen, and not just because he was seen in Jedi robes in a now-removed set photo. It would just be a little too depressing for a franchise that is ultimately supposed to be a fun good versus evil parable for kids (or adults who want to revisit childhood). With all the pressure riding on The Force Awakens, I doubt they would dare to shatter fans' illusions like that. But still, it would be awesome, and I hope it happens.
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