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Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are in play. If you aren't caught up with the latest installment of the Skywalker saga, feel free to bookmark this page for after you're current.
By time the lights had come up on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we were all left with a question that Rian Johnson's film forced us to ask ourselves: is Luke Skywalker really dead? Well, after thinking about it long and hard, we've come up with a case as to where Master Skywalker went off to after the latest adventure in the Star Wars galaxy. That said, our best guess to where Mark Hamill disappeared to all starts with a rundown of Luke Skywalker's big moment during the climactic battle between the Resistance and the First Order.
What Happened During The Scene
During the Battle of Crait in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker returned in the Resistance's moment of need. In a touching moment, he reunited with his sister, Leia, and confirmed what we all knew in our hearts: he can't save Kylo Ren, and must face him down. As he stepped out of the caves of Crait, Kylo had all First Order walkers on the surface fire on him, only to realize that his uncle withstood his barrage. Kylo made his way to the surface to face Luke down man to man, which is where things get really interesting.
While Kylo trash talked Luke, stating that the Jedi will be dead once he's finished with his uncle, and that the Resistance will soon be crushed, Luke countered both of those points effectively. Faith renewed in the cause, Luke proclaimed the heroes will rise again, and Rey is the next Jedi in line. For good measure, he also threw in the knowledge that if Kylo is to strike him down, it will always haunt him. Naturally, Kylo struck him twice, which revealed that Luke was actually astrally projecting himself, so the blows didn't make a mark.
Luke bid Kylo farewell a with a "See you 'round, kid" and disappeared. After which, we cut back to Ahch-to, where we saw Luke struggling after overexerting himself, and ultimately disappear into the either. His cloak floated in the wind, signaling that the Jedi Master may have taken his leave from this world for good. Or has he?
Is Luke Dead?
As much as we'd like to say that Luke Skywalker is still alive after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it's hard to refute the fact that yes, he is in fact dead. This is even backed by a small bit of exposition dropped by Kylo Ren, as he told Rey that the similar connection he shared with her during her stay on Ahch-to would kill even a Force user as powerful as her. This connection is later explained away, as Supreme Leader Snoke admits to bridging the gap between the two of them, which means three Force users were spreading the power needed to make such a connection.
Luke, being only one man, couldn't withstand such punishment, and he knew it. His was a willing choice to use The Force as not only a diversion, but as a way to follow in the footsteps of Obi Wan Kenobi. Luke is finally learning the big lesson Obi-Wan taught him back on the Death Star in A New Hope. As a "dead man", he'll no longer be pursued by the First Order, but can still assist the Resistance, and Rey, in the most important way.
What's Next For Luke Skywalker
Much like Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke's presence as a Force Ghost can ensure his return for Star Wars: Episode IX as a teacher to Rey. More than likely, he'll come back and finish Rey's exploration into The Force. Only this time, the lessons he's learned over the course of the classic and new trilogies will be carried down, and her teaching will be changed by his unique knowledge of events. While Luke may not be a major part of Star Wars: Episode IX, he'll probably be crucial to tying the overall story together in the climactic chapter. And now that he can no longer be hunted or hurt, he's now more powerful than Kylo could have ever imagined. Of course, Star Wars has taught us as recently as The Last Jedi that expecting the unexpected is the only safe way to go into a new film in this franchise.
Star Wars: Episode IX will come to our galaxy on December 20, 2019.