The novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi begins with Luke dreaming of an alternate life he could have had if he stayed on Tatooine. As a young boy in A New Hope, Luke yearned to leave the desert world behind and go on adventures, but as he grew older, his outlook dramatically changed. Filled with bitterness and regret following Ben Solo's turn to the dark side, Luke chooses to spend the rest of his days on isolation in Ahch-To. It's no wonder he would have thoughts about a far more peaceful existence where he never got involved in any wars or trained as a Jedi.
It was previously reported the book's prologue gave Luke a wife, revealed to be Camie (a friend of Skywalker's from the New Hope deleted scenes). But this is hardly the only change to galactic history author Jason Fry made in these pages. If Luke is now an elderly moisture farmer with no one but his love by his side, the entire course of the universe shifted all because of one decision.
This alternate reality follows A New Hope step for step until when R2-D2 runs away. Instead of waiting until the following morning to look for him, Luke and C-3PO head out at night and bring the troublesome astromech home (they don't encounter Tusken Raiders). The next day, stormtroopers arrive to the homestead demanding to see the droids, and Luke gives them up. Despite assurances from an intervening Obi-Wan, the Imperials question Owen Lars for three days before setting him free. On HoloNet newscasts, Luke learns Princess Leia was executed for treason, and the Death Star destroyed Alderaan, Mon Cal, and Chandrilia. The Empire reigns across the galaxy, and Luke and Camie meet their "Imperial quotas" to stay out of trouble. They also continuously pay water tax to Jabba the Hutt, meaning Han Solo is either dead or a wall decoration in the gangster's palace. Luke also recalls rumors that imply Obi-Wan was hunted down shortly after the incident with the droids.
The prologue is quite fascinating (and terrifying) to consider, as it shows what one seemingly small decision meant for the galaxy at large. Luke, not looking to cause any trouble with the stormtroopers, understandably cooperated with them, but in doing so, damned the universe to tyranny. One of the biggest takeaways from this hypothetical is how it makes the heroic sacrifice of Rogue One utterly meaningless, since the Empire reacquired the plans right after Sacrif. One of the reasons why audiences were more accepting of Jyn Erso's fate is because we knew the Rebels would ultimately win the conflict and restore freedom. Reading this Last Jedi prologue with Rogue One in mind makes Luke's actions extremely frustrating, and in a way, selfish.
What Fry does so beautifully here is elevate the prologue beyond a "what if?" scenario and makes it integral to the plot. Even after decades have passed, this other Skywalker can't help but constantly think about Leia's message and what he could have done to help her. When our Luke wakes up on Ahch-To, he realizes the dream was the Force at work, but is unsure of the meaning. Considering his arc in The Last Jedi, this could be the Force haunting Luke with a vision, its way of telling him what would happen if he remains on the sidelines. Rey found him because the galaxy needed a spark of hope. Luke could either have stayed on the island and done nothing (leading to the deaths of Leia and her Resistance members) or step on the battlefield one final time and make a difference by helping those in need.
Source - Star Wars: The Last Jedi Novelization
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- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019