Mark Hamill remained off-screen for most of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and when his Luke Skywalker did emerge from self-imposed exile in the film's final moments, he spoke no words. Fans were left to piece together the tragic journey that led him from ambitions of training a new generation of Jedi to seemingly living the life of a hermit on far-flung Ahch-To. However, the new Vanity Fair cover story on Star Wars: The Last Jedi provides a few more clues to Luke's past.
From The Force Awakens, we know that Luke was trying to train new Jedi, similar to the Jedi Praxeum in Star Wars Legends. It seemed like a great idea until, as Han Solo puts it, “one boy, an apprentice, turned against him, destroyed it all.” Han was being cagey about who that one boy is, but we now know it was his son Ben, aka Kylo Ren. The traitorous apprentice and his Knights of Ren destroyed the school, and Luke fled. “People that knew him best,” Han later said, “think he went looking for the first Jedi temple.”
In The Last Jedi, which returns to Ahch-To just moments after the end of The Force Awakens, audiences will learn how, and where, Luke has been living. While the island of Skellig Michael stood in for the planet in the 2015 film, for the new one director Rian Johnson and his crew shot on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula, where he told Vanity Fair they “duplicated the beehive-shaped huts where the monks lived on Skellig and made a kind of little Jedi village out of them.” It turns out Luke has been living among an "indigenous race of caretaker creatures" that Johnson emphasizes are “not Ewoks.”
His film is mostly about the relationship between Rey and Luke. "There’s a training element to it," Johnson saidl, "but it’s not exactly what you would expect.” While he acknowledges similarities between Yoda and Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, he also makes it clear that Rey and her new master's relationship is not a “one-to-one correlation.”
Arriving Dec. 15, Star Wars: The Last Jedi features returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis. They’re joined by such franchise newcomers as Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran.