The former “kid”/ balancer of the force has been conspicuously absent from The Force Awakens Trailers, so what’s ol’ one hand been up to?
First off, regardless of Luke’s role in The Force Awakens, the move to omit him -sans what is in all likelihood, his hand on R2D2- from all promotional material was brilliant. Speculation over what the fair-haired Jedi’s role will be has blossomed into a malignant and rampant free-for-all with everyone who enjoys a good jump to hyperspace putting in their two cents. With this blatant over-saturation in mind, here’s my take:
Luke is Not Kylo Ren
So the sexy claim of late is that Luke has turned to the dark-side and that he is the hooded, masked gentleman with the hilted red lightsaber- Kylo Ren. It’s an intriguing theory, I’ll give you that, but I don’t buy it. Ren is being played by Girls star Adam Driver. Despite this, many seem to believe that the two could still be the same person. Sure, I suppose they could, but they’re not, here’s why: In the last trailer, it was clearly Adam Driver’s voice as Kylo Ren stating, “I’ll finish what you started” when speaking to Vader’s helmet (more on this later). With Hamil being such a gifted voice actor, if they were the same person, why would Abrams not use Hamil’s voice? To trick us you may say, to throw us off the scent. No, Hamil is quite adept at disguising his voice, and with the help of vocal effects it would be a simple task to make it entirely unrecognizable. Also, if this were the case, why cast a known actor in the role. And don’t say it’s a diversion – it’s not. Moreover, Adam Driver is a very tall, lanky guy with an entirely different build from Mark Hamil, so the match doesn’t fit from a purely physical standpoint either. Look at this picture of Driver as Kylo Ren from Vanity Fair:
There is no way a guy with this build is supposed to pass for Luke, the man is a human praying mantis (I mean that as a compliment). So Stop. Kylo Ren is not Luke. But he could be related to Luke by blood or oath.
The Nephew Theory and The Knights of Ren
I do think there’s a good chance that Kylo Ren is a Skywalker -in fact I think it’s likely- and if I had to put money down I would say he is Han and Leia’s son. He could be Luke’s son, but that whole thing just seems a bit too on the nose, though it’s definitely not impossible. Star Wars loves family drama and, much in the same way Targaryen madness skips a generation, perhaps the unhinged Skywalker gene does too. We know now -courtesy of JJ Abrams comments in Entertainment Magazine– that Ren is not his last name but a name showing his connection to the Knights of Ren. Kylo is not a sith, so what exactly is he then? Nobody knows much of anything about the Knights of Ren, except that they -allegedly- rose up after the Battle of Endor, so let’s throw out some possibilities: Maybe Luke lost the battle within himself and ended up turning the the dark side and is now the head of this mysterious order, acting as a sort of neo-Palpatine with Kylo as his Vader. I doubt it. Perhaps the Knights of Ren are good guys, Luke was a higher-up and Kylo was one of his pupils whose obsession with Vader turned him to the dark side. Maybe, but still unlikely. Although, this would serve as a possible explanation as to how Ren got his hands on Vader’s helmet. Perhaps Luke kept it as a way to honor his Father and Kylo stole it?
Which brings us to the helmet.
This has been a lynchpin in the Luke is Kylo theory as everyone is wondering how this lanky sith-enthusiast would be able to get his hands on the helmet that Luke burned on Endor. Maybe Kylo Ren has no relation to Luke at all and he was a kid, orphaned by the Battle of Endor, and came across the charred remains of Vader and snagged the helmet. Then, through the growing lore and mystery that surrounded the sith lord he became obsessed with the dark side and grew into the menacing figure he is today. NAH, he’s related to someone, somehow.
Is Luke Evil?
He might be. It seems to be set up for a reveal of some sort, but I’m going to say no. I think there will be a bunch of surprises -mostly involving progeny- and Luke Skywalker having turned to the dark side will not be one of them. I do think it’s likely that Luke may be living in a similar fashion to how “ol’ Ben Kenobi” was at the beginning of episode 4 -a hermit with a very un-clever cover- and that he may be summoned to return to once again to bring balance. Something along those lines may transpire. I also just don’t want Luke to be evil; my ten year old* self pretending to be Luke on a 74-Z speeder in my basement is holding out hope. I do not want to be Go Set a Watchmen’d.
*also, my 15 year old, 22 year old and 30 year old self.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the Editor-in-chief of The Overgrown.