Luke’s “absence” from trailers and commercials has brought up some (ridiculous) speculation. Well, I don’t advocate being ridiculous, but I’m not above speculation.
Is Luke Bad?
First, Luke is NOT Kylo Ren. There’s been a lot of discussion of Kylo Ren, portrayed by Adam Driver and his background. So… c’mon.
We should note some background information we’ve gotten thus far about the context of the story. We know that Finn has been taught that Luke is a villain who betrayed The Empire. So in this sense Luke could be “bad” from a certain point of view. But in the sense of him going to the Dark Side, I don’t see that as being viable or feasible. I personally think this would be apocryphal and would undermine the gravity of the end of Return of the Jedi
“You’ve failed your Highness…. I am a Jedi. Like my father before me.”
But this is an interesting opportunity to dissect the perspective of what would make Luke “bad” or “good” and by whom. Seeing Luke – and perhaps, The Resistance – from the perspective of a “bad guy” would be an interesting perspective.
Did Luke Revive the Jedi?
Also probably not.
Finding Force users in a big wide galaxy is probably too much for anyone. But it’s also an opportunity for additional future Star Wars stories. Did Luke train a handful of people during the last 30ish years? Maybe. And I’m sure that would be grounds for a nice series.
Did Luke just go into exile?
This is perhaps the most plausible speculation on what has Luke been doing. I mean, the only possible glimpse of Luke is him sitting next to a campfire with R2-D2. It would seem that if the First Order is at all powerful (as we presume they are) then having an open, well-known Jedi Order would be risky. So at the very least, Jedi would be as clandestine as the Sith were in the Prequel trilogy (they were pretty out in the open in the Original Trilogy era).
For me, the telling part of this would be the impression that Yoda may have left with him. In particular this teaching:
“A Jedi uses the Force, for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.
Never is a big word. But it would also give credence to why Yoda didn’t carry a light saber in Empire. Though Yoda was hiding from The Empire – and Luke could be as well – we see many who didn’t go hide under a tree. Yoda seems to have embraced some level of pacifist beliefs as a primary objective (though doesn’t shirk notions of combat in general). Luke may have as well. As such, having Luke running into firefights probably isn’t something he’d be prone to do.
Is Luke Dead?
That would be kinda dumb; you don’t kill off one of your biggest characters off-screen. The death of Luke Skywalker should merit its own film where we get to witness Luke’s final act. We saw it with Obiwan (A New Hope) and Anakin Skywalker (Return of the Jedi). So… no.
But let’s humor this thought for a moment.