Have we really seen the last of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars universe? According to The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, quite possibly not. While he's not writing or directing Star Wars 9, he teases that J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio have every opportunity to bring Luke back for the final entry in the new Star Wars trilogy.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In the final moments of The Last Jedi, we see Luke die after his confrontation with Kylo Ren. There are plenty of things we don't understand about The Force, as Rian Johnson illustrated in his movie, and as he teased in a recent interview, Luke could return in Star Wars 9, because it's possible he has crossed into a "new realm." Here's what Johnson had to say about it.
"I don't know where the next movie is going to go. J.J. (Abrams) and Chris Terrio are writing it right now. But it seemed like the potential of Luke crossing into a new realm, that offers exciting possibilities for the role he plays in the coming chapter. No one's ever really gone. Again, I'm not writing the script, so I don't know. But as a fan, I would hope [he returns]."
Yoda and Obi-Wan have proved that Jedi can come back as Force ghosts, so why couldn't Luke do the same? Or maybe Luke can come back in Star Wars 9 in a new way that we don't even know is possible yet. In any case, as Rian Johnson points out, there's certainly potential for the legendary Jedi to return without it feeling as though it's violating the rules of the Star Wars universe. As for the decision to kill Luke in The Last Jedi? Here's what Johnson had to say about that.
"It was very early on. I felt like everything was leading there. I slowly brought it up in conversation. But it was a genuine conversation, nobody freaked out. They were like, 'Hmm, let's talk about why that needs to happen.' So we started talking...For me, there were a lot of reasons. This is very much Luke's story, about accepting the mantle of 'Luke Skywalker' as a legend that inspires the galaxy. He asks at the beginning: What can one guy with a lightsaber do? And the answer is 'Not much.' But the 'Legend of Luke Skywalker,' spreading hope across the galaxy, can do quite a lot. So his huge decision to come back and take that on his shoulders, I knew that would be the conclusion of the movie. And I knew it was a potent place for him to have this big moment, if you're going to build up a huge head of emotional steam, let's serve this moment and really give him his due."
Not much has been revealed about Episode IX just yet, but the movie is going to start shooting later this year with J.J. Abrams stepping back behind the camera to round out the trilogy he kicked off with Variety.