As the time for the release of the new Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi creeps closer, new fan theories are rapidly prevailing on the Internet. While most of them are quite easy to dismiss, one theory persists: Is Luke Skywalker the main villain of the sequel?
Fan theories are not new, and they found a new taste in the Star Wars franchise ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012. The most persistent argument was that like his father (Darth Vader) and nephew (Kylo Ren), Luke too might turn into a Sith Lord. This theory came to a halt when the movie released in 2015 and the appearance of Luke in the last scene was quite unlike a Sith Lord.
Since we know that the Star Wars franchise uses colors to symbolize morality, we can decide that Luke Skywalker, standing on cliff dressed all in white, had definitely not turned evil. But far from disappearing into oblivion, the fan theory took a new turn: Luke is now a Gray Jedi; a person who can tap into both the ends of the Force. This was, however, until the new The Last Jedi trailers, which gave the “Luke is the villain” theory another revival.
Unlike the suspense-building approach of Force Awakens, The Last Jedi has been quite revealing regarding the plot so far. We got a closer look at Snoke and Rey in her new costume. However, the biggest shocker came perhaps in the form of Luke’s new costume: dress robes which are darker in color than any other he wore in previous installments. It is not downright gloomy, which is usually worn by the “evil” people of Star Wars, but darker than usual, which suggests Luke himself might adopt a darker persona.
Amidst all the speculations, a substantial basis came in the form of the latest posters by Making Star Wars, which would be officially released with the new trailer in October. While the first trailer is the usual one containing most of the main cast, the other one smells of foreboding. It features the villains of the current trilogy (Kylo, Snoke, Phasma), and above them all, Luke (in a spot usually reserved for the main antagonist of the film).
Since MSW has always been a reliable source of information regarding the movies, it gives further strength to the argument that Luke might be the main villain of the next film. The fact that Lucasfilm decided to share these posters before release only proves that the Dark Luke plot is fundamental to the story.
Of course, most people wouldn’t be surprised, not since the last trailer gave away the foreboding lines from Luke, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” The context of the line was not clear, to be sure, but it does make people wonder as to why Luke, who once planned to expand the Jedi order, is now planning to end it. To further support the theory, people associated with the films have been suggesting something like this since forever. While Daisy Ridley talked about how Rey’s meeting with Luke was not what she was expecting, Hamill was reported to have had issues with what was planned for the character of Luke.
As far as Lucasfilm is considered, they are not very forthcoming with explanations regarding Luke’s character development. From what we have gathered (from the previous movie and other canon sources), Luke had decided to delve deeper into the mysteries of Force and train young people to be Jedi, including his nephew, Ben Solo. However, under the influence of Snoke, the Academy was destroyed, and Ben turned towards the Dark Side. Heartbroken by these events, Luke went into a self-imposed exile.
For those who are aware of Bloodline, Luke was looking for Jedi temple with Ben (before he turned evil). So his conclusion to end Jedi order might stem from some grievous flaw he found in the Jedi ideology. Since Luke is the primary protagonist of the franchise, this decision might come with good intentions, but would inevitably pose him against Rey.
However, there are some more shocking possibilities. For instance, we are now aware of events in which Luke’s students were killed, and Ben turned towards the Dark Side. However, it is still possible that Luke might have already turned towards the Dark side himself, and the conversion of Ben Solo into Kylo Ren was just a byproduct of it. But, in the end, how Luke might have turned into Dark Luke holds less importance compared to what he would do next.
From Force Awakens and the trailers of The Last Jedi, we can surmise that Luke and the First Order are not buddies by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, most of the actions of Snoke are to make sure that Skywalker must never return. So, Dark Luke or not, an alliance between Luke and Snoke seems highly unlikely. The thing most fans are concerned about is the relationship between Luke and Rey unfolding in the next film. Luke might not be the “big, bad villain’, but it seems inevitable that he would pose ideological barriers in front of Rey, who must overcome them and show Luke that the work of the Jedi Order is not yet finished.
The new sequel does seem to deviate from the general theme of the franchise, which has always divided the characters into binary factions of good and evil. The fact that Luke could exist in both would be a change, albeit a good one. However, the more subtle theme of “defying the authorities” that have been seen in almost all movies (whether it is Luke defying his trainers or Anakin and Obi-Wan challenging the Jedi Masters) could be seen persistent in the current trilogy too. Ryan Johnson might try to explore this theme further since the characters here are more established.
The larger discussion is how the possibility of a Dark Luke might affect the plot of the trilogy. So far, we know that the Resistance is hiding from the First order, Finn and Rose are undercover while Rey is undergoing her training. If Luke has indeed turned into a villain, it could make the character dynamics much more appealing. If we believe it to be true, there would be multiple factions, each with their ideologies, which might intertwine and clash with each other. This kind of complex storyline is new for the Star Wars franchise, but it is indeed the need of the hour. The bold decision, if taken, would make the upcoming film more classy and beautiful.