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Warning: spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens are ahead!
Although Luke Skywalker’s presence was felt throughout Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he wasn’t actually seen until the movie’s final minutes. After completing the map leading to his whereabouts, Rey traveled with Chewbacca and R2-D2 to a mysterious planet and found Luke on an island, where he’s been chilling all by his lonesome for many years. With the emotional moment of Rey offering Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber back to Luke, and Luke looking like he already knew who she was, there wasn’t an opportunity to identity where they were, but now the name of this planet has finally been revealed: Ahch-To
The planet’s name was listed in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ screenplay and junior novelization, and was also confirmed by Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo. Comicbook.com also notes the novelization confirms that Ahch-To is indeed where the first Jedi Temple is located, meaning that Luke was successful in his mission to track it down. All we’ve seen of the planet so far is the island Luke’s been living on (which in real life was filmed at the ruins of a Christian monastery in Skellig Michael, Ireland) and the vast ocean, so there’s still plenty to explore with that world. Now the big question is, did Luke find what he was looking for on Ahch-To?
It was revealed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that after Luke Skywalker’s nephew, Ben Solo, turned to the Dark Side and became Kylo Ren, the last Jedi went on a search for the first Jedi temple, and hadn’t been seen for years. Although he left a map to be put together that would lead to his location, Luke didn’t look particularly pleased to have been found, and his disappearance was similar to Yoda’s exile on Dagobah. Presumably he thought he’d find some ancient knowledge that will help turn the tide in the battle against Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke, though it’s anyone’s guess what that is.
Despite his limited screen time in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke will be a key figure in Star Wars: Episode VIII, and presumably the movie will answer our questions about what happened to him between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. For instance, what were the circumstances of Ben Solo turning to the dark side? Why did Luke feel it was necessary to cut off contact with his friends and allies? If Luke did find something important in the Jedi temple ruins, why did he stay on Ahch-To rather than return to the Resistance? Whatever ends up being revealed, fans at least can count on Luke being more heavily involved in the action when the trilogy continues.
Moviegoers will see Luke again when Star Wars: Episode VIII is released on May 26, 2017.