In preparation for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Disney Book Group and Lucasfilm Press have released a new novel, aimed at young readers, to highlight the power and myth of the most famous moisture-farmer-turned-Jedi. The Legends of Luke Skywalker by best-selling sci-fi/fantasy author Ken Liu seeks to educate those who are unfamiliar with Luke, delight those who know him, and as I see it…to drop a boatload of hints about what to expect from the upcoming Episode VIII. (I’ll save those for last, so do not despair).
Part of Disney’s mass marketing for the Dec. 2018 film release called “Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, Legends seems to be the last novel set to fill in the time before the anticipated movie. Following the other offerings (like novels Leia: Princess of Alderaan and Phasma), it seeks to expand upon Luke’s experiences after the film canon of from Episodes IV through VI. The pages are short, the writing and topics appropriate for pre-teen readers, and overall a fun entry into the world of Star Wars canon.
Liu uses an “around the fire” type of setting to lure readers into the stories about Skywalker. A group of travelers that are hiding a stow-away on-board The Wayward Current share what they have heard about Luke. Young, old, and droid all have something to say about what they’ve heard about Tatooine’s son. The overall impression I got from these stories is that Luke has continued to grow very powerful as a wielder of the Force in his time post-Return of the Jedi. The structure of the book is such: it follows the exploits of the travelers telling a story, revealing a bit about their plight and adventures, then switches to a Luke Legend. These switches back and forth, ending with a neat resolution for the rebellious travelers.
A good number of the chapters about Luke deal with his pursuit of knowledge surrounding the Force. Learning that it has been called many things by many different practitioners gives Luke a fresh perspective on the ancient power. Other stories are simply full of adventure and mystery. None too complicated, they are quick reads on short pages, so do not be dissuaded by the 425-page count.
In releasing this book so close to Episode VIII, it feels like Lucasfilm felt that many young movie-goers would be confused by this Luke character. After all, anyone under a certain age could well be a giant fanboy/fangirl of Star Wars without ever having seen a film or watched a show with Luke in it. Clone Wars, Rebels and Episodes I through III completely exclude the dude. So it would make sense that a primer of sorts would be necessary. Sure, these kids could watch the original trilogy, but to really understand who the Luke Skywalker is from Force Awakens and Last Jedi, they need to understand that his journey to a Force-induced nirvana continued well after Return of the Jedi.
The chapters feel like they are written from an anthology, but unlike the recently released Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, which is such, Legends is purely the creation of one writer, Ken Liu. I’m pretty sure that these stories will only serve to supplement Luke’s on-screen exploits, but I feel that so close to the film release, that he unwittingly gave us a glimpse at future Star Wars plot-lines (more on that below). Overall, he manages to bring alive Luke’s optimism and charisma we know from the original trilogy.
With any hope, those endearing qualities will be present in the new theatrical release of The Last Jedi.
And now…for the reckless speculation! (If you don’t like this sort of thing, stop now, because I get pretty specific about my suspicions. I have no access to actual spoilers, so you can read with a certain sense of curiosity without the movie being ruined. Unless I’m right. And I’m about 80% sure Ken Liu spilled some Star Wars beans in this book!—You’ve been warned!)
Throughout Legends, we read about some of Luke’s enhanced Force abilities, like bringing down a Star Destroyer using only the Force (such as Vader did in the video game series Force Unleashed) and holding his breath for a very long time. But in the last legend, Big Inside, Liu details a story about Luke and a galactic hitch-hiker being swallowed whole by a space slug (think Empire Strikes Back). I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll spare the details, but for a very significant portion of the story, Luke ponders on the nature of life, death and sacrifice. He reflects on a time when someone very near to him, Obi-wan Kenobi (or as near as one can be after, what, two days?) gave himself over to death, actually becoming one with the Force, in order to protect the living.
The story then continues this theme by allowing Luke to survive, yet again, by some lost Jedis’ self-less sacrifice for the aid of others.
Why so spend so much time on the subject? Why devote an entire story to the idea of sacrificing oneself for the good of another?
Because that is what Luke will do for Rey (and maybe Kylo?)!!!
He’s gonna “Kenobi” himself!!!
If you read my review of the final TLJ preview, you could probably see that I was all over the place with speculation there. But after a few weeks of pondering and discussion with some good friends (shout out to Andy Confer and the folks at JediOKC), and now this book, I’m convinced that this is how the film will go:
- We’ll flashback to when Kylo Ren fought Luke. We see Luke’s robot hand bursting from a pile of rubble in the preview, then we see Luke and R2 looking at a burning building…which is probably Luke’s Jedi Academy being destroyed.
- This leads to Luke’s isolation prior to being found by Rey. Then Luke refers to seeing “raw strength like this before” and not being properly fearful of it. Many of my friends think it refers to first Vader, then Kylo, but I think it refers first to Vader, then to Rey!
- Rey struggles with her place in the galaxy, Kylo Ren offers to show her the path he’s on with Snoke, and introduces her to Snoke. Rey and Snoke don’t get along so well, and then…
- We see Snoke suspending Rey in some type of Force Paralysis, similar to what Kylo did to Rey in Force Awakens, which means she tries to take him on at some point in TLJ, and this is where all the preview info is complete
- Luke is present or shows up for this fight, takes on Snoke to distract him from Rey, and seeing that Rey needs to escape, drops his arms down and becomes one with the Force, leaving the plane of the living and joining Obi-wan, Yoda, Anankin and Qui-gon as Force Spirits.
- This sacrifice has an influence on Rey, who chooses to abandon her dance with the Dark Side. (This may roll over into Episode IX, or Luke may offer up the sacrifice in Episode IX, but I swear it is going to happen).
What other evidence do I offer? We’ve heard tons from the Lucasfilm creators about how this trilogy will conclude the Skywalker Story. How else can they do it with Luke alive? Han is dead, we are pretty sure that Leia’s days are numbered, so Luke will have to also die if the Skywalker Story truly ends. And what better way than a selfless sacrifice, showing that Luke does not fear death, that he embraces the Force, and is ready to become One with it and all those that preceded him?
I may be wrong, but I’m like 80% sure I’m on at least the right path. What do you think? Am I chasing Force Ghosts? Or may there be something to this?
Author, podcaster, costumer and maker, Ryan has been enjoying Disney, Marvel and Star Wars since his first years of life and is thrilled to be able to pass that passion along to a new audience on LaughingPlace. Check out his award winning novels “The Pirate Bride” & “The Lost Crew” in bookstore nationwide.