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Despite being absent for nearly all of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker loomed large over the first entry of the new Star Wars sequel trilogy due to his connection to Kylo Ren and his unusual disappearance. By the end of the movie, fans were reunited with the Rebel hero when Rey found him on Ahch-To, and The Last Jedi will show Luke training the newest Force-sensitive hero this winter. As for why Luke went into exile, ideally Episode VIII will answer that, but in the meantime, the new Darth Vader comic book may hold the key to this mystery thanks to the story's protagonist talking about something called the Barash Vow.
Darth Vader #2 was released today, and the story (via Reddit) saw Vader taking steps to find a Jedi who survived Order 66, kill them and take their lightsaber, as that is the only way a Sith Lord can create a red-bladed lightsaber. After attacking a Republic station and killing everyone onboard, Vader went to a droid for information about any Jedi who had taken the Barash Vow, which is when someone doesn't get involved with any activities related to the Jedi Order and dedicate themselves purely to The Force. These individuals wouldn't have been able to help their fellow Jedi when Vader and Emperor Palpatine's clone troopers began the purge because they were serving "penance."
Within the Darth Vader comic, the Barash Vow only applies to the some of the few Jedi who survived Order 66, and presumably it's from one of these Knights or Masters that the Sith Lord will obtain his new weapon. But when looked at with The Last Jedi in mind, perhaps this vow explains why Luke Skywalker disappeared after the Knights of Ren destroyed his new Jedi Order. With his Padawans dead and his nephew Ben having turned to the dark side, Luke may have decided that he needed to take the Barash Vow to atone for his failings. That's why he went to the first Jedi Temple to focus completely on The Force, similarly to what Yoda did on Dagobah.
When The Force Awakens began, The Resistance and First Order had already been at war for several years, so this Barash Vow would explain why Luke didn't leave to help fight Supreme Leader Snoke's forces. The Vow may also be the reason why Luke suddenly believes that it's time for the Jedi to end, although he may be convinced otherwise before The Last Jedi concludes. If the Barash Vow does indeed factor into the next Star Wars movie, it will be another prime example of the fascinating connective threads between the Star Wars movies and other media projects set in a galaxy far, far away.
We'll find out what the deal with Luke Skywalker's exile is when Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15.