The following article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
If you’ve seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you’ll know [here’s that SPOILER ALERT again] that Luke dies at the end. Or does he? What happens to him is never overtly marked as a death in the film, per se. We just align it with the death scenes of Obi-Wan and Yoda from earlier in the franchise — both disappear into the ether in a similar way at the point of their sad demise. But the sequel trilogy introduced the notion of Force projection, with The Last Jedi revealing that Luke, like Supreme Leader Snoke, has the ability to project an image of himself to a different location. We know, therefore, that Luke has powers beyond what we’ve seen exhibited by his former mentors.
Mark Hamill has addressed Luke’s final moments in The Last Jedi, and said (jokingly) that he teleported to a nudist colony, leaving his robes behind but his mechanical hand intact. He’s also talked about the scene being dramatically inert. With no one to witness it, the sequence lacks impact. Even the script, according to Hamill, refused to spell out that Luke had died. “It just said he fades away,” Hamill told us recently.
This is in stark contrast to Han Solo’s startling death in The Force Awakens, which shocked both audiences and onlookers Chewbacca, Finn and Rey in the scene. So why would Han get such a sensational send-off when Luke meets a wishy-washy, vague end, if it’s not to bring the former Jedi master back in some way? Does Luke have the power to come back to life? That’s exactly what a lot of speculation has concluded.
Rian Johnson’s Verdict
The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson believes that’s not the case.
“That was very explicitly in the prequels called out as a Dark Side power,” he told FANDOM. “Because the Dark Side is all about selfishly holding onto life, as opposed to the Light Side which is self-sacrifice and selflessness. That was kind of the central theme of the whole thing. The selfishness of wanting to not die. It was called out as a Dark Side thing. So I wouldn’t, just as a fan, associate that with Luke.”
That doesn’t rule out the notion that Luke Skywalker could return in Episode IX as a Force ghost, like Yoda, Anakin and Obi-Wan before him. Or, come to that, the idea that he might not even be dead. But it should put to bed the theory that says Luke has the power to reanimate himself.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out on Blu-ray and DVD in the US on March 27 and available via Digital Download now. In the UK, you can get your hands on the film in all formats from April 9.