After expressing my disappointment in The Last Jedi I’ve been thinking a lot about what to expect next in Episode 9. We’ll have JJ Abrams back in the writer/directors chair to complete the story he started. It felt to me like, Rian Johnson wasn’t a fan of the plot points JJ set up and maybe wished that he himself would have wrote & directed The Force Awakens. The problem I think is that it just didn’t feel like a cohesive story was being planned by these two directors and as we now know there never was a real solid story for this trilogy. JJ wrote the first installment and Rian Johnson took over the second, literally writing whatever his heart desired to continue the story. Sadly it really shows when watching both movies in succession. The trilogy should have had a planned story, instead they’re seriously making shit up as they go. So it leads me to a legit question of Episode 9: Is Luke Skywalker REALLY dead?
Of course, everyone has come to the logical conclusion that Luke Skywalker died at the end of TLJ and that he will return in the next installment as a good ol’ trusty Force ghost. BUT, I think that there’s a damn good chance we could indeed see Luke in the flesh again. First, let’s consider the backlash TLJ has gotten, there’s a large portion of that backlash that’s incredibly upset with the handling of Luke. So taking the fan backlash about this character into consideration, I think JJ could indeed tastefully retcon his “supposed” death. Let’s face it, if Luke returning in the flesh for Episode 9 will elate the fans and make some seriously big bucks, it as a possibility, is totally, 100% on the table. I think these movies are way more about the money these days than the actual story telling. So Luke returning in human form is most definitely a very serious possibility even if you think it’d be bad storytelling and wanna call me some crazy ass fan who needs to let go of the past. You need to realize 99.9% of this is, at the very end of the day about MONEY.
Now as lot of people have said, he’ll surely be a Force ghost in the next movie, he’s dead, get over it already. I however ask, what proof do we have that Luke is actually really dead? He’s already displayed some unexpected Force powers we’ve never seen before in TLJ so what if his “disappearing act” at the end of the movie is just another aspect of his abilities? How do we know that Luke didn’t just willingly merge with the Force instead of “dying” from exhaustion? Perhaps he can move through the Force in a non physical way and even return to the physical plane as well. We have no idea what really happened to him, what his true intentions are or if perhaps he needed to crossover/merge with the force for some specific reason.
What if the next movie began with Luke entering the Force later to exit it? How incredible would that be? Now, I realize this likely wasn’t what Rian Johnson had planned, he wanted this to be Luke’s death, but as we all know now it really doesn’t matter what the previous director had planned. JJ can easily bring Luke back to the physical, in fact if they’re trying to truly surprise fans with interesting never before seen plot twists this would be a great one. What if Luke saying “see you around kid” to Kylo really meant he’d actually see him in person once more?
To me it seemed like an odd and fairly anti-climatic end to Luke’s story. I know Johnson wants us to “forget about the old and get with the new” but I wonder why the old and new can’t both exist to some degree still? Luke would have been a welcome addition to future Star Wars adventures as an aging powerful Jedi who DIDN’T just disappear into the Force forever like everyone else. I could see him a bit like a “Gandalf” type character if he indeed were to continue on in the flesh. Let’s face it Gandalf in LOTR was a true fan favorite and it didn’t make one bit of difference that he was an old dude!! Every time he was onscreen, like Hamill as Skywalker, people were mesmerized. So perhaps Luke’s tale isn’t done, perhaps once in the force, he’ll be pushed back to the physical as his help’s still needed on the material plane to stomp out the dark side. From a monetary standpoint, killing off Luke in Episode 8 while Mark Hamill still is alive and well would be a total waste as the fans have spoken, they do really want more Luke along with the new characters. From a storytelling standpoint it seems like an older Luke isn’t a less interesting character either, but perhaps an even more compelling one. Or at least he could still be.
What are the odds Luke will return to do REAL battle at least one more time with his lightsaber in the next movie? I’d say better than you think. JJ Abrams is much more of a fan pleaser, I don’t think he imagined Luke would be gone by the end of Episode 8 which is one reason I think JJ will truly give the fans a Luke Skywalker send off (or a real future in the flesh) that they’d been hoping for all along. He’s in control of this last installment, he could, just as easily as Rian Johnson erased his plot points, go in opposite directions that Johnson tried to set up. If Luke does return as a force ghost only, I think it may be difficult to have him really in on any of the real action BUT if Luke has temporarily merged with the force, he could easily return and give us what we’d all been hoping for, some full blown Jedi mayhem to wreak alongside Rey.
Another reason I think his return to human form is totally plausible, is because we lost Carrie Fisher, Leia won’t be returning. The sad fact that Leia is gone and will likely be dead at the beginning of the next installment may be the very reason why Luke willingly returns to the physical plane to help with the fight. It simply wasn’t his time to go. I think the last episode was going to feature more Leia, but now that’s just not possible. So….There’s a ton of pressure on JJ’s shoulders after the truly divisive feelings for The Last Jedi, I’m certain he knows that somehow, he’s got to find a way to bring the fans all back on the same page, Luke’s return to the flesh would be a great start. Then how about a solo one off older Luke Skywalker adventure movie? He could team up with Chewy and Finn (as it seems Daisy Ridley doesn’t want to play Rey after Episode 9). Does anyone think fans would be against “A Star Wars Story” one off movie like “Rogue One” or “Solo” that starred Mark Hamill as the older Luke in the lead role? I think it’s all a wasted opportunity…What do you think?