This post contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The shocking, emotional ending of Star Wars: The Last Jedi wasn't that big of a surprise for those who were following the rumor mill in the months leading up to the film's release. One of the final scenes of the movie managed to leak online in the spring, shortly after the first teaser trailer premiered at Celebration Orlando. We speak of Luke Skywalker's death, which occurs at a key moment in the emotionally-charged third act. The old Jedi Master, after years of closing himself off from the Force, projects himself across the galaxy from Ahch-To and encounters his nephew, Kylo Ren, so the surviving members of the Resistance can get to safety. Shortly after, Luke becomes one with the Force at peace, looking towards a binary sunset like the one on Tatooine.
In their Disney era, Lucasfilm has become known for the secrecy, rarely revealing any critical plot details in marketing. As a result, while Luke was featured in numerous trailers and TV spots, the advertising only provided the vaguest clues. The studio's promotional department deserves all the credit in the world for pulling this trick off three consecutive times, but they can't keep a lid on everything that comes out on the Internet. Back in April, fans had some semblance of an idea of how The Last Jedi would end, but the information wasn't presented in a 100 percent accurate manner.
YouTuber Mike Zeroh, who has gained a certain amount of infamy for his Star Wars speculation videos, posted one on April 30, 2017 concerning a scene involving Luke Skywalker. It includes both footage of the death scene being filmed (see: an actor sitting on the meditation rock on-location in Ireland) and a concept art rendering of the moment as seen in the final movie. In his analysis, Zeroh mentions the sequence was shot at twilight and just before sunset, which makes all the more sense now that The Last Jedi has been released. Luke's final moments of life were a mirror of the classic New Hope scene where he stares at the horizon of Tatooine's twin sunset, yearning to go on an adventure far from the moisture farm. Instead of representing adolescent frustrations, Episode VIII's sunset gives Luke a tranquil and purposeful sendoff. He went out like the hero we all knew he was.
What's fascinating about this leak is Zeroh is somewhat notorious for videos that oftentimes are based more in outlandish speculation than truths. That he was able to report on Luke's death scene months before anyone saw it is impressive, though there is one caveat here. He mentions that the scene takes place in the second act, when in fact the sunset scene is the climax of the picture. It's true The Last Jedi has an earlier moment where Luke meditates on the rock and communicates with Leia, so it's possible Zeroh is discussing that scene. However, with the repeated mentions of twilight and the concept art of the binary sunset on Ahch-To, it seems more likely Luke's death was the subject of the video.
This isn't anything new for modern Star Wars, as the entire plot of The Force Awakens found its way online well before that movie came out. It goes to show that fans need to exhibit caution when scouring the internet for anything they can find about their favorite films. Often times, the rumor mill for something as big as the galaxy far, far away has so much to sift through, there's bound to be wrong information, but there are some truths as well. Fortunately, Luke meditating in front of a sunset ambiguous enough that it didn't spoil his ultimate fate, but when Episode IX revs up, fans will have to ask themselves how much they really want to know.
- 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: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019