The Story Behind Luke Skywalker's Compass From 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

In May, a story leaked out from the production of Star Wars: The Last Jedi revealing a MacGuffin that we barely saw in the finished film: Luke Skywalker's compass. You can see the artifact in Luke's hut in a few scenes, but no other mention is made of the object. So what is the story behind Luke Skywalker's compass?

Spoilers ahead, of course.

We first heard about the compass in a leaked report from Making Star Wars:

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker has a compass that guides his way. The compass is a box with a blue marble-like orb on the top. I believe Luke Skywalker moves his hand over the blue orb and the box opens up to reveal the compass inside the box. The interior of the box has metallic dials with Aurebesh writing inside denoting some "space" version of North, South, East, and West with a needle to point the way. The prop is probably the most beautiful piece of craftsmanship I can think of for a Star Wars film. It has a very old look to it but the inside is almost steampunk or like something mystical from Naboo. I looked at the compass and I had to ponder if it is just another tool in the bag or is it special? Does it take Luke Skywalker to where he needs to go in The Last Jedi? Or does he find it at the end and that journey is conducted over the next film after The Last Jedi?

So was the compass just a background prop that didn't have a larger purpose? Let's get to the bottom of this mystery.


The Compass in the Movie, Toys and the Script

The compass appears in the film briefly in two scenes. You can see it when Luke is folding his clothes right before Chewbacca knocks down his door and it can be spotted on Kylo Ren's nightstand (do they have nightstands in Star Wars?) in the flashback sequences. If you look closely, you can see it when the  young Ben Solo grabs his lightsaber to defend himself from Luke.

While the compass is only briefly seen in the film itself, it can be found in some of the products produced around the movie, including as an accessory for the announced Hot Toys 1/6th scale Luke Skywalker figure, seen above.

Apparently, the shooting script for Star Wars: The Last Jedi featured a scene highlighting the mysterious compass. Our sources tell us that the scene explained that the compass led Luke Skywalker to the original Jedi temple on Ahch-To. It's unclear if this scene was ever filmed, but for whatever reason, it didn't make the final cut of the movie.

More From the Visual Dictionary

It can also be seen on the cover of Pablo Hidalgo's Star Wars: The Last Jedi Visual Dictionary (strangely, the item was kept off the cover in all previously released promo images), which gives us some more information about the artifact:

Recovered from one of the Emperor's observatories on Pillio, this antiquated star compass was among the Jedi relics hoarded by the Emperor during his rule.

The book also notes that the mechanism in the compass uses supraluminite lodestone, which is attuned to hyperspace vectors. The video game Star Wars Battlefront II actually features a scene where Luke finds the compass.

Luke Finds the Compass in Star Wars Battlefront II

While Luke Skywalker's compass doesn't make a lasting appearance in The Last Jedi, it has a larger story inside Star Wars canon. In the new video game Star Wars Battlefront II, which takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi, one of the missions leads Inferno Squad member Del Meeko to the bug-infested planet Pillio, where he seeks to destroy the contents of the Emperor's vault.

On the mission, he runs into the legendary Jedi Luke Skywalker, who has been guided by the Force to this same location. Del Meeko tells Luke that the objects in Emperor's Observatory on the planet Pillio are "all worthless." Skywalker remarks, "Not all of it." He comes across the compass and decides to take it rather than leaving it behind to be destroyed by Del Meeko. You can watch the whole sequence in the video above.

This is interesting because this means that Emperor Palpatine was also after the long last Jedi temple and was unable to find the the coordinates to map the course before his death in Return of the Jedi. Now that the compass has been abandoned on Ach-To, the only three beings in the galaxy that know the location of the first Jedi temple are Rey, Chewbacca and R2-D2.