Despite the fact that Luke Skywalker pretty obviously died at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill is slated to reprise his role as the bright-eyed (though, controversially, not so bright-eyed anymore) Jedi hero that brought down the Empire in the original trilogy in the upcoming final chapter in the Skywalker saga, the aptly titled The Rise of Skywalker.
Since that announcement was made, along with the curious title hinting at something phenomenal being done with the character, many fans have been proposing their own ideas for how Luke will be incorporated into the highly anticipated new Star Wars movie. So, here are 10 Fan Theories About Luke’s Role In The Rise Of Skywalker.
10 His Force ghost will help Rey fight Kylo Ren
In the original script for Return of the Jedi, the Force ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda showed up in the final battle in the Emperor’s throne room to help Luke battle Darth Vader. This was eventually cut to keep the focus on the relationship between Luke and Vader, but it might make more sense for the same idea to be used in The Rise of Skywalker.
Both Rey and Luke have established beef with Kylo Ren following the events of this trilogy and it’s all caught in a murky moral gray area, so maybe Luke’s ghost showing up in the final lightsaber duel to help Rey when she needs it the most would be the best way to bring Luke into the closer of the Skywalker saga.
9 Luke will appear in a flashback
Some fans are theorizing – more hoping than theorizing, actually – that The Rise of Skywalker will feature one final scene shared by Luke, Han, and Leia, the holy trinity that they fell in love with at the very beginning of the Skywalker saga. Since two of them are dead, the only way for this to happen would be if they appear in a flashback sequence.
Flashbacks aren’t a common technique in Star Wars filmmaking, but as long as Rian Johnson introduced them in The Last Jedi, there’s a good chance we’ll see some more in the follow-up. Whether a potential flashback involves Han and Leia or not, Luke is likely to appear in one, because he is canonically dead.
8 He never really died; he just teleported away
Some fans have guessed that maybe Luke didn’t really die at the end of The Last Jedi after all. He faded away and supposedly became one with the Force, but perhaps that’s not really what happened. In The Rise of Skywalker, there’s a chance that, during some climactic battle sequence, Luke will suddenly reappear in a glorious beam of light and join the Resistance in their fight.
This is probably just wishful thinking from fans who don’t really want Luke to be dead – or, at the very least, they don’t want Luke’s definitive death to have been mishandled by Rian Johnson in the same way Luke’s grizzled characterization in The Last Jedi as a whole was.
7 Luke gave Broom Boy his Force abilities
It’s been suggested that Palpatine’s Force abilities are so strong that he is able to manipulate midichlorians inside people’s bodies and that’s how he created the perfect apprentice in Anakin. In fact, there’s a deleted scene where he explains just that to Anakin from Revenge of the Sith. Maybe Luke is also able to manipulate midichlorians, but only from beyond the grave when he became one with the Force, and that’s why, as soon as he died, we saw the so-called “Broom Boy” use the Force and then look up at the stars like Luke once did.
Maybe Luke gave him his powers in death after Rey inspired him to restore his faith in the Jedi. If this is true, it would also explain what Palpatine’s role in the movie would be.
6 He’ll discover the “world between worlds”
The animated series Star Wars: Rebels and the video game Battlefront II have both hinted at a “world between worlds” that Luke Skywalker is searching for in the Star Wars universe, so maybe in death, he’ll finally be able to find it. George Lucas originally planned the end the sequel trilogy with the revelation that the story is being told by microscopic organisms keeping an eye on all the crazy stuff going on with the Rebels and the Empire and the Jedi and the Sith.
This would be an interesting way to play into that. It would also be an impeccable way to end the Skywalker saga on a trippy and ultimately satisfying note, giving Luke the kind of cosmic peace he’s always been searching for.
5 It’s just a cameo appearance
Many fans have assumed that Luke’s role in The Rise of Skywalker will just be an obligatory cameo, like it was in The Force Awakens, and aren’t getting their hopes up.
Mark Hamill suggested as much in an interview with Den of Geek in which he said he’d only really been in “one movie” in Disney’s sequel trilogy: “I thought, Oh, okay, you should push my death off to the last one. That’s what I was hoping when I came back: no cameos and a run-of-the-trilogy contract. Did I get any of those things? Because as far as I’m concerned, the end of VII is really the beginning of VIII. I got one movie! They totally hornswoggled [swindled] me.” So, his role in Episode IX might not be anything to write home about.
4 He’ll continue to train Rey as a Force ghost
The relationship of Luke and Rey has often been compared to Luke and Yoda. Luke traveled to the planet where Yoda had exiled himself and convinced him to reluctantly train him as a Jedi, just like Rey did with Luke himself years later. But maybe it’s more like Luke and Obi-Wan’s relationship, if Obi-Wan was grizzled and bitter.
Obi-Wan got halfway through training Luke before he was struck down, but he continued to give him advice from beyond the grave that helped him through tough times like destroying the Death Star. If Luke returns as a Force ghost, it’ll probably be to complete Rey’s training and give the Jedi the true hope of survival that it desperately needs.
3 Luke will be revealed as Rey’s father
After The Force Awakens, the Star Wars fan base was abuzz with theories about who Rey’s parents were, and then one of the many things that Rian Johnson did to disappoint those fans in The Last Jedi was have Kylo Ren reveal that Rey’s parents were “nobodies” buried in the Jakku desert. Most Star Wars fans have chosen not to believe that, instead insisting that Kylo Ren was lying to get a rise out of Rey, and hope that J.J. Abrams will reveal a more meaningful parentage for Rey in The Rise of Skywalker.
Since the prequel trilogy focused on Anakin Skywalker and the original trilogy focused on his son Luke Skywalker, it would only make sense for the sequel trilogy – the one rounding off the saga comprised by all three trilogies – would focus on Luke’s son or daughter. From this, we have the abundant fan theories about Luke being Rey’s long-lost father.
2 Rey travels back in time to witness Luke’s Jedi academy massacre with her own eyes
There’s been a suggestion that time travel will play a part in the plot of The Rise of Skywalker, but after Avengers: Endgame got moviegoers all time-traveled out for a while, paired with the fact that it wouldn’t fit into the Star Wars universe in the slightest, it probably won’t happen. However, there could be a kind of time travel, if people with a special Force connection – like, say, Rey and Kylo Ren – could experience each other’s memories, sort of like in Harry Potter.
Rey could go back and witness the massacre at Luke’s Jedi training academy firsthand, while Kylo Ren could get a clearer idea of what actually happened to Rey’s parents to make it such a touchy subject.
1 We’ll find out what “more powerful than you could possibly imagine” means
Way back in A New Hope, the movie that kicked off the Skywalker saga in the first place (not chronologically, but in release order), Obi-Wan told Darth Vader before his tragic death, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Now, we saw Obi-Wan become a Force ghost and give Luke advice from beyond the grave, but that’s hardly “more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”
The Rise of Skywalker can finally show us just how powerful a Jedi Knight can become in death with its portrayal of Luke. Some fans have even suggested he could bring down a Star Destroyer with the Force, just like Yoda lifted an X-wing out of the swamp.