It seems like we’ve been in a dry spell as far as The Last Jedi news goes, recent descriptions of sizzle reel footage and our own report about scenes included in the teaser notwithstanding. However, we at Star Wars News Net would like to make the wait for Celebration a little more bearable by relaying a bit of information that we’ve heard about: a source told us that we may very well be returning to a trio of planets from the previous movies in Star Wars Episode VIII and/or Star Wars Episode IX. In addition, we’ll also talk a bit about the plot-important element related to these three planets that we know of, which also features a possible development concerning a mythic character in the setting.
Alright, since this is a bit of a speculative piece in addition to being a scoop, I want to make sure the information here is presented as clearly as possible. As such, what I was explicitly told will be bolded and colored gold while stuff that what I’m just speculating on based on this same information may not be. In other words, I can tell you that these planets likely will be in the next two movies, but I can’t tell you how they’re going to fit in because that part isn’t completely clear right now. I would also like to note that these were explicitly described as being shown over the course of the Sequel Trilogy, so don’t expect all three to show up in The Last Jedi. It also goes without saying that this will touch upon potential spoilers, so the faint of heart shouldn’t look past this point. (Oh, and don’t go around saying “PLANET X IS IN THE NEXT STAR WARS!” on social media so as to not ruin it for anyone else – please leave the headline as-is if you share this story.)
For starters, I am of the personal belief that all three (or at least the first two) planets are going to be shown via another Forceback or over the course of multiple Forcebacks. This is just the theory that I am operating on, but I’m not 100% sold on it myself. The reason for this will be made apparent as I discuss a general plot development that I learned about in conjunction to these three worlds and what they have in common. And even still, it’s just as likely that we’ll see any or all of these planets in the “present”. To cut to the chese, the three returning planets are Tatooine, Endor, and Mustafar, although we might not see them in that exact order. So now that you know the three planets, I’m going to talk a little about each one individually, I’m going to go into detail on why they were chosen – which is something that may very well spoil the backstory of the Sequel Trilogy. (I’ll put up another warning when we get there.)
The planet that is farthest from the bright center of the Universe is, ironically, in focus once again. That’s right – we’ll be headed back to Tatooine at some point in the Sequel Trilogy. In fact, we may have actually seen it in The Force Awakens without realizing it – to my understanding, the desert world with Twin Suns may be the home of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple which we saw burning down in the Forceback.
To some degree, it would make sense that Luke would return here to train a new generation – crime took a nosedive after Jabba’s death, he already lived on the planet for much of his life, Obi-Wan probably left a few things of note behind, and most importantly, it’s the middle of nowhere in planetary form, making it the perfect place for a small group like the Jedi to rebuild themselves. And as such, it would also be a place of sentimental importance to Ben Solo – since not only did his uncle and namesake live on the planet, but so did his grandfather. Also worth mentioning is that the rock formation seen behind R2-D2 in The Force Awakens, while irregular, is not too dissimilar to the odd formations seen in Attack Of The Clones.
But again, this is my personal theory – I’d like to reiterate that I’m not 100% sure that my guess on how Tatooine fits into the next two movies is accurate. I just know that Tatooine will be in at least one of the next two movies. I’m not sure if the scene featuring the desert world will be part of another Forceback, but it absolutely will be if I’m right about Luke’s Jedi Temple being there.
Endor is the second of our three stops. (Yeah, it’s a moon and not a planet. Close enough.) Now I can say that I have a much clearer idea about where the other two planets are going to fit in than the first – they’re both tied to Kylo Ren’s personal journey revolving around a certain Darth. You see, as the The Force Awakens already showed us, Kylo Ren has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with his granddad. But we’re about to learn more on that particular element to Kylo Ren’s personality – he’s seeking kinship with the role model he’s trying to emulate, and as such, he’s looking for artifacts related to his grandfather and to the Sith in general. This most likely explains why he’s incompletely trained in spite of having served Snoke for at least half a decade or so – due to his power, he felt as though pursuing his own quest in his spare time was more important than reaching his full potential as a Force user.
When I heard about Endor in particular, I personally speculated that we’d go back to Endor to see Kylo Ren recover his grandfather’s melted helmet from the funeral pyre that Luke set (possibly after killing a few Ewoks with his lightsaber claymore), but that’s when I remembered canonical information presented in the Aftermath series and Bloodline. Right after Darth Vader died, a mysterious cult known as the Acolytes of the Beyond appeared and purchased Sith artifacts. Later, it turned out that many Imperial artifacts – including those related to Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine – were considered priceless and were sought-after by many parties, including – presumably – those who deified the Force. So as it turns out, it seems likely that someone will already have gotten word about the melted armor of the Dark Lord of the Sith and sold it off to Kylo Ren – so a visit to there will probably be based around something else entirely, though that something is still going to involve Kylo Ren and Darth Vader. Perhaps there’s a Sith artifact hidden on the forest moon that we never got to see.
Speaking of Darth Vader…
Surprise! It’s not an Original Trilogy planet, but a Prequel Trilogy planet. (So much for the whole “Disney is going to pretend the Prequels never happened in the Sequels” thing.) If everything pans out, then Mustafar is the last planet on this list that we will see somewhere in the Sequel Trilogy.
People have often speculated that Lucasfilm is trying to do what the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a fellow Disney mega-franchise – has done, and use one movie to make a plot connection to a future movie as a means to build up momentum and interest for another movie. That’s clearly not the case as far as we can tell (since Star Wars is a singular brand, unlike Marvel, and that whole “Han Solo will show up in Rogue One” rumor – which was more of a misguided inference more than anything – didn’t pan out at all), and Lucasfilm is generally bringing existing elements into the fray as they fit instead of trying to force crossovers. With that in mind, it seems as though this is going to be the closest thing that they’ve done toward making an MCU-type connection – Darth Vader’s castle, introduced in Rogue One, will be revisited years after the death of the man who had it built.
Now, it’d be really neat if we get another major fight scene on this planet – *cough* lightstaber duel *cough* – but for now, we can look forward to a closer look at Darth Vader’s own little Minas Morgul. While it’s possible that Luke might have visited the place at some point, I can tell you that the time that will be spent on Mustafar will have a lot to do with Kylo Ren. Whether he set up shop there or if he simply visits the place from time to time is not clear at this moment.
These choices might seem a little random at first. You might ask yourself – why are we going to see these three planets instead of several others, like Jakku and Coruscant? Well, I can’t tell you that those planets won’t reappear in the movies – Tatooine, Endor, and Mustafar are just the only three returning worlds that I know about. Still, the reasoning behind the inclusion of these three planets is where the really interesting stuff comes in.
What Ties These Planets Together
Kylo Ren and Darth Vader. That’s the short version of the explanation, and it’s also the most obvious. But as it turns out, there’s something else that the three worlds – or at least the first two – have in common: Luke Skywalker. (While Luke hasn’t canonically visited Mustafar as of yet, that very likely could have changed between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, or possibly even during the Original Trilogy.) Kylo Ren’s Galaxy-spanning quest may be to get in touch with the Dark Side, but Luke also had a similar one which we were already told about by Han Solo in The Force Awakens, and it seems as though these three planets – or most of them – may have been a part of that very backstory. Extended from this line of thinking, the long version of the explanation is a bit of a doozy…
Alright, so here’s a big plot element that we consider a pretty big spoiler for the overall direction of the Sequel Trilogy’s central themes. However, it only concerns the backstory of the Sequel Trilogy, and as such may either be a big reveal or a small part of the overall story depending on how the narrative of The Last Jedi plays out. If you want to avoid learning about a key element to Luke and Ben’s pasts before the opening night of Episode VIII, then this is your last chance to turn back.
While Kylo Ren’s obsession with the Sith and the Dark Side lead him back to places important to dear old grandpappy Vader – the places where he was raised, where he was reborn in fire, and where he was cremated – but there’s apparently an interesting parallel between him and his former master that is going on over the course of their respective character arcs. Luke understandably had a crisis of faith over what happened with his nephew and his other students – it appears that in addition to the loss of his life’s work and the betrayal of a loved one, something he came across relating to the Jedi puts into question everything he thought he knew about the ways of the Force. It sounds as though many of the artifacts he’s rediscovered are forgeries or have strayed so far from the original intent of the Jedi that they might as well not be Jedi artifacts at all. He’s even questioning the teachings of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin, and is feeling as though the Jedi path he’s followed has ultimately left his life in ruins. My personal guess is that Ben Solo learning about his true heritage and that his family lied to him wasn’t the last straw that turned him into a murderous psychopath (even if it did play a role in that descent) – whatever awful secrets that Luke discovered (which subsequently led to his spiritual crisis) could indeed be what caused Ben to turn his back on the Jedi, join the Knights of Ren, and embrace Snoke’s teachings.
But in spite of the personal tragedy and his disillusionment with the Jedi way as he was taught, Luke Skywalker is no quitter – he believes in the idea of the Jedi Order, but he also thinks that the way he learned was deeply flawed (which the Prequel Trilogy clearly demonstrated) and is in need of fixing, and recovering knowledge about the practices and philosophy of the ancient Jedi is the way to go about restoring the Order. Luke didn’t abandon the Galaxy or his duty as a Jedi, he just wanted a better understanding of what it truly means to carry this tremendous responsibility. The Jedi Order that collapsed shortly before his birth appears to have been a more morally-ambiguous ideology than previously realized, and the views its adherents held led to their own downfall – by carrying forward a more pure version of the faith closer to the vision of the original Jedi, Luke believes that he can be successful in raising a new generation of Jedi where he had once failed. Perhaps this is why he looks at Rey with such sorrow and understanding at the end of The Force Awakens instead of with joy and relief – the Galaxy is in need of new Jedi, but he’s not completely sure what being a Jedi means now, much less how to teach someone this new path. Luke truly is the last of the old Jedi – and hopefully, the first of the new if he and Rey can find a way to bring balance to the Force.
One of George Lucas’s big themes for the Sequel Trilogy as he originally envisioned it back in the 1980s was that the story would have to deal with morally-ambiguous situations and discerning between what’s truly right and wrong. Presuming that they’re still looking at his treatments for inspiration, this sounds like the crux of Luke’s character arc going forward – he’s going to have to confront the mistakes of the past (including his own), fix them as a teacher, and make sure that the new generation and those that follow them rights the wrongs that plagued the Old Jedi Order as it strayed from its original goals. Indeed, the poem presented at the beginning of the novelization of The Force Awakens would indicate such a story arc:
“First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight.”
― Journal of the Whills, 7:477
The day and the night are obviously the ages of the Republic and Empire, and that the light will eventually triumph over the darkness years that follow the Empire’s rise is a given. However, it’s not said that the darkness ended with the Empire’s defeat, just that it will come one day. Perhaps, then, the darkness will only end when the First Order are defeated and the new Jedi – the true Jedi – are in place. But all of this revolves around Luke deciding what he needs to do to fix the most unpleasant aspects plaguing the faith before going forward – and that alone might be as great a challenge as defeating Snoke.
In any case, we’ll get a lot more information about The Last Jedi at Celebration in less than a month. Hopefully, this news on the cinematic return of Tatooine, Endor, and Mustafar – along with story details about the paths that Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker have followed between their falling out – will help tide you over for now.