Rey's Force vision from Star Wars: The Force Awakens may feature another Jedi temple. As celebrated as it was for bringing Star Wars back and introducing a whole new generation of heroes, the enduring success of J.J. Abrams' Episode VII was how it sparked intense speculation of where the Skywalker Saga would go from here. And no aspect was scrutinized more than Rey's vision caused by her touching the Skywalker lightsaber. Despite that, there are still new details being found.
The Forceback, as it is colloquially known, takes Rey through Star Wars history, from Luke and Darth Vader's Bespin duel in The Empire Strikes Back, to the destruction of Luke's Jedi academy, a nighttime attack by Kylo and his Knights of Ren, Young Rey being left on Jakku and the pair meeting in the Starkiller forest (along with a sly Obi-Wan Kenobi cameo from both Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor). It was a classic Abrams mystery box trick, with lots of teases leaving behind a bounty of questions, many of which had unclear answers even to the filmmakers.
What's of interest now is the rainy night scene in the Force vision featuring the Knights of Ren. Kylo and his acolytes stand surrounded by dead bodies in the middle of a storm as lightning crackles. In one of these blasts, in the top right of the frame, the silhouette of a structure can be seen. It consists of a large central pillar and two thinner spikes either side. Brightening the image gives a sense of distance - it's a fair way off - and scale - it looms large. You can see it in the image below.
The immediate suggestion from the design of this structure is that it is somehow connected to the Jedi. That central spire with surrounding pillars is a design trait linked to the order running throughout Star Wars continuity, from their logo to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to the tree containing the sacred Jedi texts on Ahch-To. The wider middle structure also lines up with Luke's Jedi temple as seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (which is itself rather similar to George Lucas' original sequel trilogy designs).
At first glance, this would seem to back the long-held thinking that, despite the terrain and weather switch, this part of the vision is intended to be Ben Solo's destruction of Luke's academy; he, along with a select few students, are massacring the rest. Of course, that theory breaks down in light of the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi; the structure in The Force Awakens' vision doesn't match up with the main academy building spotlighted in Episode VIII's flashbacks. In that light, this may be another Jedi-associated location where Kylo and the Knights of Ren have attacked (one such event was recently teased in Star Wars Resistance).
Ultimately, this confusion speaks to both how Abrams made the Forceback as an ambiguous tease that could be construed in various ways (similar to his work on the Lost pilot), then how Rian Johnson focused more on themes than plot threads as he actively subverted expectations in his sequel. What's most likely is this was a clue Abrams dropped without really knowing what it was - it could be Luke's academy, another Jedi temple or something else entirely - and Johnson had no interest in continuing it. But, as Star Wars canon repeatedly proves, clues can lay anywhere. And with Abrams back for Star Wars 9, who knows what this Easter egg could come to mean...
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019