New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Photo Leads to Speculation That Luke Skywalker Lives

A new promo photo gallery for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been released, and it delivers some interesting new insights about the film. We've gotten teases of an epic finale, as well as first looks at new characters like Keri Russell's Zorri Bliss; however, it's the appearance of an old character that really has some fans buzzing!

Take a look at this photo of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker in Annie Liebovitz' Star Wars finale photo spread, and the theory it's inspired about Luke's possible resurrection in The Rise of Skywalker, after he vanished into the Force at the end of The Last Jedi:

@JohnFugelsang - "Everyone talking about Knights of Ren & Keri Russell may have overlooked that this new Episode IX pic of Luke Skywalker is neither a force ghost nor the flashback Luke. Because we never saw a robot hand fall on the rocks."

Along with all of the Last Jedi haters out there, there's been a running sentiment in certain sectors of the fandom that the ideas presented by director Rian Johnson should be struck down and course-corrected by J.J. Abrams in The Rise of Skywalker. Luke's death has been one of the main topics of such debate, with a lot of fans passionately calling for Luke to somehow reappear or get resurrected in Episode IX as the more heroic version of himself that fans remember from the Original Trilogy.

It's a noble enough desire, to be sure - but this photo of Luke above can in no way be taken as The Rise of Skywalker confirming such plans for Luke Skywalker's character. These series of photo spreads for The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker by Annie Liebovitz are promotional photos meant to capture or convey the themes of the characters in each film; they don't reveal anything concrete about actual plot-points of the films, beyond official looks at new characters, and costumes.

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Still, we know that Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker has a role in The Rise of Skywalker - it just remains to be seen what it is.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be in theaters on December 20th.