Rian Johnson Hints That Luke Will Return In Star Wars: Episode IX


“It’s time for the Jedi…to end.”

As it turns out, Luke’s grave warning came from a place of self-inflicted isolation – the Jedi Order doesn’t have to end, per se, it simply has to take on a new life.

That’s a responsibility that has largely been placed on the shoulders of Rey, Daisy Ridley’s Force-sensitive heroine who fought for Ben Solo in the hope that Adam Driver’s mercurial anti-hero would return to the Resistance. As Star Wars: The Last Jedi began to unfurl, though, it became obvious that her attempts were in vain. Now, she’s tasked with bringing the First Order down to size as Luke Skywalker is ostensibly out of the picture. Or is he?

In a recent interview with Variety, director Rian Johnson touched on what’s undoubtedly one of the film’s most controversial decisions – killing off Luke. When asked if Mark Hamill’s character could possibly return in Star Wars: Episode IX, he offered up this cryptic tease:

I don’t know where the next movie is going to go. J.J. (Abrams) and Chris Terrio are writing it right now. But it seemed like the potential of Luke crossing into a new realm — that offers exciting possibilities for the role he plays in the coming chapter. No one’s ever really gone. Again, I’m not writing the script, so I don’t know. But as a fan, I would hope [he returns].

Continuing on, Johnson explained that the decision to bring an end to Luke’s story came very early on in the creative process:

It was very early on. I felt like everything was leading there. I slowly brought it up in conversation. But it was a genuine conversation, nobody freaked out. They were like, “Hmm, let’s talk about why that needs to happen.” So we started talking.

As for why it had to happen, the director said:

For me, there were a lot of reasons. This is very much Luke’s story, about accepting the mantle of “Luke Skywalker,” as a legend that inspires the galaxy. He asks at the beginning: What can one guy with a lightsaber do? And the answer is “Not much.” But the “Legend of Luke Skywalker,” spreading hope across the galaxy, can do quite a lot. So his huge decision to come back and take that on his shoulders — I knew that would be the conclusion of the movie. And I knew it was a potent place for him to have this big moment, if you’re going to build up a huge head of emotional steam, let’s serve this moment and really give him his due.

So, can fans expect the great Luke Skywalker to be back for the next chapter in the saga? Well, Johnson certainly sounds optimistic about it happening, even hinting that “no one’s ever really gone.” At this point, an appearance as a Force ghost seems likely, but you can chalk that up as speculation for now as we’ve got very little to go on when it comes to what’ll happen in Star Wars: Episode IX.

What we can tell you, however, is that though it was originally earmarked for Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), J.J. Abrams has since taken control of the threequel and it’s locked in for release on December 20th, 2019.

More from Lucasfilm’s ever-evolving Star Wars franchise when we have it.