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A Brooding Luke Skywalker Headlines New Photo For Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Force is strong with USA Today. On the heels of this morning's poignant featurette, the outlet has dropped a brand new pic for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

On the heels of this morning’s poignant featurette, in which a giddy Rian Johnson waxed lyrical about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, USA Today has dropped a brand new pic for Lucasfilm’s sequel that appears to take us inside Luke’s humble abode.

Having retreated into a self-imposed exile, there is a great sense of mystery bearing down on Mark Hamill’s Jedi Master, who once oversaw a school of budding Force users before one mercurial student (read: Ben Solo/Kylo Ren) rose up against Luke, and brought the entire thing down in flames.

That dark and disturbing backstory is yet to be confirmed outright, but given The Last Jedi‘s recent trailer showed Luke Skywalker collapsing before a burning building, it’s all but certain that Kylo Ren is the one responsible for Luke’s exile. Either way, USA Today’s latest reveal ought to stoke online speculation right up until December 15th, as it seemingly shows Mark Hamill’s wise old Jedi alongside the Journal of the Whills.

Star Wars aficionados will know all too well that those ancient scriptures have been referenced before, both in George Lucas’ earliest drafts for the first movies and, more recently, Rogue One‘s tie-in prequel novel. That resurgence has led some fans to believe that the Whills will be woven into Lucasfilm’s core saga, and The Last Jedi certainly seems like a good place to start.

Chalk that up as conjecture for now, but between Luke’s time on Ahch-To (AKA the last Jedi Temple) and Rey’s rigorous training, there’s no question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is about to delve deeper into the minutia of the Force.

As for the characters at the heart of the story, Rian Johnson spoke to USA Today about those three anchors – namely Rey, Finn and Poe – and how it seems like they’re going in their separate direction.

When I first read the script of The Force Awakens, I was like, ‘I feel like I know these characters instantly.’ And now we get to kind of put them through a meat grinder. (Laughs) And for me, part of that meant that we had to make things as hard on each of them as possible: At least part of the movie, they don’t have their friends around. They’ve got to figure things out for themselves. They’ve got to be faced with whatever the toughest thing each of them can be faced with, and they’re not going to have their buddy there next to them to get them out of it, necessarily.

Exactly where those characters wind up after Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the question that has fuelled countless conspiracy theories across the board, though if there’s one rumor worth keeping in mind, it’s that Rian Johnson has purportedly snuck a cliffhanger ending into The Last Jedi – not unlike how Empire placed Star Wars fans on a knife’s edge all those years ago.

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Michael Briers