Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ending - What Does It Mean?

luke-skywalker-star-wars-the-force-awakens
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

[WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Do not read until you’ve seen the movie.]

After his nephew Ben Solo went to the Dark Side and killed the fledgling members of his new Jedi Order, Luke Skywalker abandoned his friends and family to search for the First Jedi Temple in exile. Skywalker went into exile alone, leaving only a fragmented map as the only clue to his location. At the end of The Force Awakens, R2-D2, for reasons unknown, reactivated himself after a lengthy self-imposed exile of his own and revealed Luke’s location (with the help of BB-8) to the Resistance. Rey, Chewbacca and R2-D2 left a recovering Finn behind to travel to the First Jedi Temple and bring Luke home. After exploring the ruins of the Jedi Temple, Rey finds Luke and offers him his old lightsaber, as the old Jedi hesitantly looks at his prospective student.

While we haven’t heard anything about the plot of Episode VIII, presumably Rey will continue her journey to becoming a Jedi under Luke’s tutelage. Rey’s storyline in The Force Awakens strongly mirrored Luke’s journey in many ways. Both came from a lawless, desert planet. Both were natural pilots, and both used their newfound abilities with the Force to help destroy a Galactic threat. Although Luke is dressed similarly to his old master Obi-Wan Kenobi, if the parallels between him and Rey continue into Episode VIII, Luke will presumably take on the role of Master Yoda, who spent his final years in the remote swamp planet of Dagobah.

What we don’t know is whether Rey’s “awakening” to the Force will inspire Luke to come out of his multi-year exile. Luke obviously took the loss of his students and the betrayal of his nephew hard and it’s unclear why he chose to hide at the First Jedi Temple. Was Luke trying to master a new Force ability to even the odds against his obviously powerful nephew? Was he seeking a way to “expel” the Dark Side from Kylo Ren? Or was he trying to keep his own flirtation with the Dark Side (which we saw in Return of the Jedi) in check?

With Luke’s location now known to the Resistance, it’s presumably only a matter of time before Kylo Ren and the First Order also learn where Luke is. Kylo spent most of The Force Awakens searching for the map to the Jedi Temple to finish the eradication of the Jedi, which his grandfather (and Emperor Palpatine) started many years ago. Since Kylo had no problem killing his own father, we’re guessing he won’t hesitate trying to kill Luke too. Going back to the previously mentioned Luke/Yoda parallel, Yoda died on Dagobah and never joined the Rebel Alliance in their final battle against the Empire. Will Luke also die in exile before he can help end the threat of the First Order?

If the ending of The Force Awakens (and Rey’s parallel journey to Luke’s during the original trilogy) is any indication, Episode VIII should show us Rey’s tutelage under Luke Skywalker. We only have eighteen months to wait before Episode VIII. While I’m not sure Disney will be forthcoming with any clues to the next movie, we could see additional answers about the First Jedi Temple and Luke’s travels after the Battle of Endor as new “canon” Star Wars novels and comics are released in the coming months. Stay tuned to ComicBook.com, as we’ll be sure to share any new clues we find about the new world of Star Wars.