"Luke Skywalker Has Vanished."
It's the first four words of the opening crawl in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it seems to be considerably more than that, as well. Of the original three heroes of the Star Wars Saga, Luke, Leia, and Han, Luke's time between the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and the start of Force Awakens is by far the least fleshed out. Indeed, with one wordless scene at the end of the movie, to Luke's fans he's been downright neglected. There's a reason Star Wars: The Last Jedi is at the top of ComicBook.com's anticipation rankings with a 4.51/5, folks.
While there have been a couple of canon novels and many adventures in the pages of Marvel Comics that explore his time during the original trilogy, Luke has been relegated mostly to cursory name-drops in any material that takes place after it thus far. In the Star Wars Aftermath trilogy of novels, Leia and Han (and even Chewbacca) become main characters in the story, directly affecting the events. While the second book is even title after Han and Chewie's "Life Debt," all Luke gets is a few wistful thoughts from his twin sister, and some mention that he's "searching the galaxy for information about the Jedi."
Closer to The Force Awakens is no different. In the book Star Wars Bloodline, Leia is the main character, as she tries to work within the New Republic Senate for the betterment of the galaxy, while simultaneously trying to figure out what these rumors of a new military force rising. During her exciting trials and tribulations, we merely hear off-hand, once again, that Luke is "off with Ben Solo" her son, somewhere, training him.
Now, Star Wars is not big on flashbacks - on screen it does not use them at all. The animated series Star Wars Rebels ever-so-slightly skirted that notion, using old recordings to give some glimpse into characters' pasts, but for the most part, and in all on-screen cases, we get the story of each film in chronological order. Even the closest thing to a flashback, Jyn Erso watching her mother die and her father get taken, was done as a prologue instead in Rogue One. Therefore, it seems unlikely we'd get any flashbacks actually showing us Luke's time away - thirty years of it from the end of Jedi to recruiting Ben and other students, to losing Ben and exiling himself - on screen during Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Sure, he'll likely divulge at least some of the information, whatever is 100% necessary for the plot to push forward, but much more than that is unlikely.
Hopefully after The Last Jedi has premiered we can start seeing some of those blanks filled in on the printed page, then, in comics and novels. Luke showed up for an exciting sequence or two as full-on Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker in the comic Shattered Empire, but again, there's a lot of other ground to cover. There has been rumor of an animated series being developed that takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens - could that be the "Chronicles of Luke Skywalker" we've been waiting for? If it is, it's still not likely to hit until after The Last Jedi answers some of the bigger questions on its own - live-action always takes priority in the Star Wars universe.
Hopefully we'll get some hints about what's to come for Luke Skywalker during Star Wars Celebration Orlando in April 2017; or at least hear Luke speak. For now, at least we have the excellent adventures of Leia, Han, and all the newer characters to keep us busy.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017 release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles. Click the fire icons below to rate your anticipation of The Last Jedi.
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