If there is one question practically every Star Wars fan has leading into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it's 'Where is Luke Skywalker?' We have seen original trilogy characters Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia (Carrie Fisher) in three trailers and other footage from this highly-anticipated adventure, but Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be found. Director J.J. Abrams revealed last month that he was excluding Luke from the trailers on purpose, hinting that we won't get to see him at all until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18. Entertainment Weekly caught up with the filmmaker, who assures fans that they have not forgotten about Luke Skywalker.
"No one forgot about him! We were hoping people would care, but there are a lot of things that are not on the poster, as busy as the poster is. Certainly Luke is a very important aspect of the story."
Back in August, producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed that she helped convince J.J. Abrams to come aboard and direct by asking him one simple question: "Who is Luke Skywalker?" While neither the producer or director have elaborated on what that question really means, there is a lot to take in. Remember that, in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, Luke rushed off to help his friends, instead of completing his Jedi training with Yoda, who warned that he would become an "agent of evil." Yoda was proved wrong in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, after getting his father, Darth Vader, to turn away from the Dark Side and defeating the Emperor.
There have been rumors that Luke achieved something so powerful with The Force that he put himself into exile, away from his friends and family, for the past 30 years, but, naturally, nothing has been confirmed. The director did mention that, for the new characters in this story, like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Luke's story has become the stuff of legend. Here's what he had to say about how these new characters relate to Skywalker's tales.
"It was the thing that struck me the hardest, which was the idea that doing a story that took place nearly 40 years after Jedi meant that there would be a generation for whom Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia would be as good as myth. They'd be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They would be characters who they may have heard of, but maybe not. They'd be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale."
There is a moment in the final trailer where Han Solo tells both Rey and Finn that all of the stories they heard were true. Rey has been on her own for most of her life, scavenging on the desert planet of Jakku, and she is learning that all of those stories are true for the first time. Here's what J.J. Abrams had to say about Rey's journey.
"To someone who is living alone and struggling without a formal education or support system, who knows what that person in the literal middle of nowhere would have ever heard about any of these things, or would ever know, and how much that person would have to infer and piece together on their own. So the idea that someone like that would begin to learn that the Jedi were real, and that the Force exists, and that there's a power in the universe that sounds fanciful but is actually possible, was an incredibly intriguing notion."
We know that Finn was a First Order Stormtrooper, who was raised by this evil organization since he was a child. We know that he eventually goes rogue and helps Rey on her journey. We also recently learned that the First Order soldiers were taught from childhood that Luke Skywalker was a villain who destroyed the Empire. Here's what John Boyega had to say about how learning the truth about Luke Skywalker impacts his life.
"For Finn, he's been raised from the ashes of the Empire. He's been taught about Luke Skywalker, he knows about his history. For him it's like joining the army and then learning about one of the great enemies of your country. It has that effect on him. But in terms of the Force, and the magical stuff that happens, that is the point where Finn kind of questions what is what. What is the Force, what part does Luke Skywalker play in all of this? To a stormtrooper they've probably been given a watered down bit about Han Solo or something. It doesn't feel as magical and mythical and historical, so you know. It's quite fun playing that not really knowing who these people are."
It was previously confirmed that the lightsaber Finn is seen wielding in the trailer is the same one that belonged to Luke Skywalker, which was last seen falling down an air shaft in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, after Darth Vader cuts off Luke's hand and reveals he's his father. There have been numerous rumors about how this lightsaber fits into the story, but we have also heard that this lightsaber ends up inside the droid BB-8, and Kylo Ren is searching for it. Unfortunately, the director wouldn't shed any more light on this important Jedi weapon.
10 years ago, J.J. Abrams appeared on the IFC TV series Dinner for Five, where a group of actors and/or filmmakers would come together for dinner and tell stories about their careers. One of the other guests on that particular episode was none other than Mark Hamill, who laid out his thoughts about a very dark future for Luke Skywalker, years before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was in development. The episode recently started to surface online again, leaving many fans to wonder if the actor's thoughts about Luke's fate were actually implemented into the story. The director wouldn't say one way or another, but Mark Hamill did have this to say.
"That's the beauty of the story, is it leaves it up to the audience's imagination. It was the story of a boy going from a farm boy to a Jedi Master, and I always thought it was amusing, and if you put it in terms of James Bond, it would be like telling the story of how he got his license to kill, and then stopping and never telling any stories of what his adventures were. But that was just the structure of the movie, so it leaves it to the audience."
ABC will be airing new footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens later on tonight during the network's "TGIT" block that includes Scandal, Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. What do you think will be revealed in this new sneak peek? It's probably safe to say that Luke Skywalker won't be revealed, but maybe we'll get our first look at Supreme Leader Snoke or Maz Kanata. Do you have any theories about what will be shown?