Star Wars fans are abuzz following the release of the latest trailer and poster for The Force Awakens, with a number of theories advanced to explain Luke Skywalker’s conspicuous absence from both. In a new interview, director J.J. Abrams has revealed that the omission is completely intentional, leading fans to wonder what it could all mean.
The three trailers which have been released in the lead-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens have slowly revealed the actors returning from the original trilogy. Han Solo and Chewbacca appeared at the end of the second clip, while Princess Leia is briefly shown in the newest trailer (along with voice-over work by Carrie Fisher). All three returning characters, along with stalwart droids C-3PO and R2-D2, appear on the official poster for the film. Aside from a brief scene in which a hooded character lays a robotic hand on R2-D2 (which fans assume is Luke Skywalker), the last of the Jedi is missing from all of the pre-release media, leading to wild speculation about the cause.
— IGN (@IGN) October 27, 2015
The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams recently spoke with the Associated Press in a red carpet interview, as IGN notes, and he was asked directly about Luke Skywalker’s absence from the trailers. Abrams would only say that the questions were “good,” and that he can’t wait for fans to find out the answers when the film is finally released. When asked if there was a reason that Luke was missing, Abrams confirmed that “It’s no accident.”
— GameNewz (@Gam3Newz) October 27, 2015
Fans have widely speculated about what the fate of Luke may be some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Early rumors about the plot suggested that Luke may only be a minor character in this installment of the new trilogy, not appearing until the very end of the film. Early in production, it was revealed that The Force Awakens would focus primarily on a new generation of characters, and the latest trailer revealed that Han Solo plays a role as an interpreter of events which transpired during the original Star Wars trilogy.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 26, 2015
Some of the more ardent Star Wars fans have taken their theories to even greater lengths, suggesting that Luke Skywalker may actually appear in all of the trailers and the poster, hidden behind the mask of Kylo Ren. They assert that the casting of Adam Driver in the role (which was revealed in a Vanity Fair piece earlier this year) may be the ultimate red herring, and that Mark Hamill may actually be the man behind Ren. The suggestion that Luke Skywalker may have turned to the Dark Side of the Force gained further traction when a clip featuring Hamill from 2005 surfaced online, as the Huffington Post relates. In it, the actor discussed how much fun it would be to play a dark version of Luke with Kevin Smith, while none other than J.J. Abrams was seated across the table from him.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) October 24, 2015
These rumors are seemingly dispelled by the only photo of Hamill on set, which leaked several months ago. Though Disney has been very successful at getting the image taken down from most websites, it revealed the actor dressed in robes similar to those worn by Ben Kenobi and other Jedi in the Star Wars universe. This seems to suggest that Skywalker is still very much on the Light Side during the events of The Force Awakens.
Whatever the fate of Luke Skywalker, fans need only wait a few more weeks before all is revealed, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens.
[Photo by Clemens Bilan / Getty Images]