where is luke skywalker

We know for a fact that Mark Hamill is in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Somewhere. He’s credited on the poster. His voice is heard in the second trailer, quoting one of his original trilogy lines of dialogue. We’ve even seen one quick glimpse of him. Regarding the picture at the top of this article: who else would have a robot hand, wear a black robe, and touch R2-D2 with such a affection?

However, confirmation that he’s in the movie hasn’t kept curious fans from wondering exactly what’s up with the galaxy’s last Jedi Knight. Now, director J.J. Abrams is here to field the big “Where is Luke Skywalker?” question without spoiling anything.

Like the rest of this week’s big Star Wars news, these new quotes come from the upcoming Star Wars-centric issue of Entertainment Weekly. Like with that Harrison Ford interview, or the news about Leia’s new job, or the first official details about Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke, there are some very interesting things being said here.

Abrams makes it clear that they didn’t forget to put Luke in the trailers. His absence, and how the characters in the movie view him, is a vital part of the storyline. You should be wondering where he is, especially since the new, young characters have a very different relationship to him:

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.

In fact, Abrams explains that Daisy Ridley‘s Rey, who lives as a scavenger in a desert wasteland on a backwater planet, will experience what it’s like to learn that all those vague legends you grew up not believing are very much true:

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.

But how does Finn, the ex-Stormtrooper played by John Boyega who befriends Rey and can be seen wielding Luke Skywalker’s long lost lightsaber in trailers, feel about Luke? Boyega himself addressed this one:

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?

The concept of a generation of people raised to believe that Luke and the other Rebel Alliance heroes were villains who dealt a crippling blow to a thriving galaxy is fascinating. Seeing how Finn goes from a brainwashed anonymous soldier to a possible Jedi-to-be already sounded like a fascinating story before we heard this new wrinkle.

But how does Luke’s lightsaber end up in the hands of Finn? The last time we saw it, Luke’s first Jedi weapon was lost during his duel with Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. The Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit at Disney parks doesn’t offer any hard details, but it does confirm that yes, this is a mystery we should be thinking about.

In case you don’t want to squint, here’s what that text says:

Anakin Skywalker constructed this weapon at the start of the Clone Wars, and it was later passed to his son, Luke. Luke lost it in battle on Cloud City, but someone salvaged it from the city’s industrial depths.

Speaking of Disney theme parks and Star Wars, it has been confirmed that Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Theater will be screening a 20-minute film that recaps the events of all six Star Wars movies before previewing The Force Awakens. It’s just one of the many very cool temporary Star Wars overhauls coming to the parks for the next few months.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens of December 18, 2015.

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