Earlier this year, Mark Hamill confirmed that he would return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as the Force ghost of Luke Skywalker. Whether or not he would appear to aid in the fight against Emperor Palpatine isn’t clear, though. Now, an intriguing new theory provides substantial evidence that we could see a younger version of Luke appear in a flashback scene alongside Rey.
Warning! Speculation based on leaks ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
A previous leak by StarWarsLeaks subreddit moderator JediPaxis claimed The Rise of Skywalker would include a flashback scene to Luke training Leia to be a Jedi. The magic of CGI would have de-aged them to look just as they did at the end of Return of the Jedi. Alas, the scene was either never filmed or cut from Episode IX.
Just this week, Star Wars Shadow Council posted a theory that Hamill could still appear in a flashback sequence in Episode IX, but it won’t have anything to do with Jedi training.
Last September, Hamill posted a picture of himself sans facial hair around when filming for The Rise of Skywalker began. Fans didn’t think much of it, until photos of the unshaven actor appeared on the Instagram page of Flora Moody, a stylist working on Episode IX. It’s possible Hamill was clean-shaven for a CGI de-aging treatment. (For similar reasons, Robert Downey Jr. had no facial hair in his younger cameo in Captain America: Civil War.) This could very well mean that the flashback training scene with Leia actually exists, but SW Shadow Council has a much more intriguing theory that connects Luke to Rey’s parentage. This theory brings together the longstanding idea that Luke is Rey’s father, and that The Rise of Skywalker will include a key flashback explaining how Rey ended up on Jakku.
“Ben Solo did something that led to an attack on Luke’s family. Luke promised Rey he would come back, while hiding her to keep her safe (likely so that he could go try to save her mother as well). Rey’s mother is killed in the attack and Rey is taken,” writes the Shadow Council theorist.
The theory hinges upon the novelization of The Force Awakens, where Rey hears a voice during her flashbacks: “I’ll come back for you, sweetheart. I promise.” That doesn’t sound like she was abandoned on purpose. Could that voice have been Luke’s? It would connect to Rey’s conversation with Maz in The Force Awakens, which implies that the person who could still come back to Rey is Luke. Rey even says his name, connecting them to each other even before they met in The Last Jedi.
The theory cleverly connects the flashback scene with the events of The Force Awakens and honestly, it makes a lot of sense. Think about it: a flashback scene to Luke and Leia training together may not have added much to Episode IX story-wise. On the other hand, a flashback to Rey being separated from Luke during an attack would explain the mystery of her parentage, while still connecting back to the “filthy junk traders” who left her on Jakku. Whether or not this will come to pass in the final version of the movie is unclear, but the idea of Luke being Rey’s father in the context of this theory is a strong one.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.