Is Luke Skywalker The Secret Villain of Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi

Potential plot details for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.


Is Luke evil in the Star Wars sequel trilogy? New evidence suggests that might just be the case in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

There's been a lot of crazy fan theories raised since Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012, but none have been quite as hard to shake as the idea of Jedi Master Skywalker succumbing to the Dark Side like his father (and, now, nephew); it was discussed in hushed whispers as The Force Awakens came together and blew up during the "Where's Luke?" marketing campaign.

Of course, Luke was actually absent from all the trailers and posters because he only had one, brief scene at the very end of the film. And that pretty much shut off the villain talk: the Skywalker that Rey found stood on an Ahch-To cliff looked decidedly un-evil (remember, Star Wars isn't known for its subtle costume coloring). Instead, all that Dark Luke talk has been transferred into the prevalent theory he's become "Gray Jedi" - a Force user that taps into both sides of the spectrum - and, as he's seen training Rey in the trailer, it's widely presumed he's on the "good" side of that.

However, it's now looking like Luke may actually be the villain of The Last Jedi after all: perhaps not an out-and-out Sith Lord or even someone allying himself with trilogy big bad Snoke, but an antagonistic force who will have to show down against an unwitting Rey none the less.

What We've Seen In The Leaks

In contrast to The Force Awakens, the build-up to The Last Jedi has been dominated by a series of pretty revealing (but not movie-ruining) leaks. The biggest of these was a set of promo photos that gave a proper, full color look at Snoke, glimpses of Rey's new costume and, most importantly, "Dark Luke"; Skywalker in a darker Jedi robe than what we'd seen in most of the previously-released materials. That alone isn't enough to build a theory on, of course, but it did highlight the possibility of a more conflicted Luke (again, Star Wars isn't known for its subtle costume coloring).

But a more recent leak revealed something much more substantial. The typically dependable Making Star Wars shared drawings of two poster designs reportedly being considered for release alongside the next trailer in October. The first appears to be a "main" poster with the majority of the cast featured. The second, however, is a "villain" variant that puts focus on Kylo, Snoke, Phasma et al; and, towering above them in the spot usually reserved for a film's ultimate foe, is Luke.

Now, these sort of drawings from MSW are usually reliable - they had several accurate sketches of the previous image leaks before they appeared online - so it's fair to take the posters seriously. And so it appears that the current Lucasfilm marketing plan has Luke lumped in with the villains by October. That's seismic, not only hinting at Skywalker vs. Rey, but saying that it's so fundamental to The Last Jedi's story they're going to reveal it before the film comes out.

What Other Suggestions Of Dark Luke Are There?

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars The Last Jedi

Should we be going this way, Dark Luke isn't the most surprising development. There's obviously his trailer-capping line where he decrees "it's time for the Jedi to end"; delivered devoid of any context beyond the fact he trains Rey at some point, this could mean anything, but at the very least indicates an ideological change. Because of that Master/Apprentice relationship, most have assumed it's not too severe, although we have nothing to really back that up.

Indeed, most word from the cast supports a villain turn. Daisy Ridley said of Rey's early experiences with Luke that "it is difficult when you meet your heroes because it might not be what you expect" and Hamill infamously said he fundamentally disagreed with what Rian Johnson had planned for his character. There are dozens of things those statements could mean, but a prominent one is making Skywalker an antagonist.

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Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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