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WARNING: The following is mostly rumor and speculation, but if you don't want to know anything at all about Star Wars: Episode IX, I'd make the jump to hyperspace out of here!
We are about a year away from Star Wars: Episode IX and the end of the Skywalker Saga, and to this point, trailers, teasers, official photos, plot details or even a title for the film are all nonexistent. But even without any official information, this is Star Wars, and thus there are rumors and theories abound.
So as we wait to see what J.J. Abrams has in store, it's time to take a look at the various rumors and theories out there and talk out how likely they are to happen, and what effect they would have on the film and the franchise as a whole if they did.
After examining Admiral Hux's potentially shifting loyalties last time, it's now time to turn the focus to the hero of this franchise, one Luke Skywalker. A rumor from a couple of months back posited that our favorite space wizard would be ridiculously powerful in Star Wars: Episode IX. How powerful? Well, according to the rumor, the upcoming film will see the Jedi Master bringing down a Star Destroyer.
Yeah, that's PRETTY powerful. There are a couple of different aspects to this rumor and therefore different reasons to think that it will or will not come to pass, but first, let's consider where we left Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
There is an argument to be made that we already saw an ultra-powerful Luke Skywalker in Rian Johnson's film. Luke's display of Force-projection, casting his image across the galaxy to confront his nephew and provide the spark and the distraction that the Resistance needed, was a display of ability and power unlike any we had seen before.
However, I think this is not what many fans were hoping for from Luke, as this power was not an offensive use of the Force. And the fact that it literally killed him to do it kind of took the wind out of the sails of this badass level of power. We know that Mark Hamill is returning for Star Wars: Episode IX, so that provides another opportunity for Luke to do something big. The question is if he will and what he would do.
There are two angles to this rumor, one broad and one specific. The specific angle is that Luke Skywalker will bring down a Star Destroyer in the next film. This is immediately complicated by the obvious fact that Luke is currently dead and one with the Force like his father before him. Right away, that is a point in the 'not gonna happen' column for this rumor.
Luke's death leaves only a few possibilities that would allow this rumor to actually play out: Luke isn't dead or is brought back to life, we will see this in flashbacks or Luke will do this as a Force Ghost.
To the first possibility, while I can see J.J. Abrams retconning Rey's parentage (and think he will) and giving backstory on Snoke, I really don't see him undoing Luke's death, either through explaining how he is still alive or having him return like Gandalf at the turn of the tide. It would require a lot of exposition, and while it might appease those who dislike The Last Jedi, it might also alienate those who love it.
According to the rumor, Episode IX will show a battle over a sandy planet between TIE fighters and X-Wings that sees a black-cloaked figure with a mechanical hand reaching out and bringing a Star Destroyer to the ground. A scene such as this is already referenced in canon in Ken Liu's Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Legends of Luke Skywalker. That book sees Luke Skywalker, shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi, appear in hologram form on the bridge of the Star Destroyer before crashing it on Jakku.
It sounds as though the story from the book and this rumored scene could be one in the same. The Force Awakens showed Rey exploring that downed Star Destroyer and flashbacks in Episode IX could show us how that came to be. Such a flashback could also perhaps give us some further connection between Rey and Luke on Jakku.
If we are to see Luke bring down a Star Destroyer in a display of awesome power, this seems to be the most likely way it will happen.
The last possibility is that Luke will take the Star Destroyer off the board as a Force Ghost. The Last Jedi showed Yoda impacting the physical realm as a Force Ghost, so it is clear that Force Ghosts have more power than we once thought. Luke did also tell Kylo Ren "See you around kid," implying he would still be messing with him after death.
Nevertheless, it doesn't seem likely to me that a Force Ghost Luke will bring down the Star Destroyer simply because having Luke do that while dead would cheapen his death if he could still do that much damage from beyond the grave. The whole point of the end of The Last Jedi is that even though he is no longer a part of the fight, the Resistance will go on. If anyone will be showing major Force powers in the 'present' of the story, it should be Rey.
If we ignore the specific rumor of 'Luke brings down a Star Destroyer' and just ask the broader question of 'Will Luke Skywalker be ridiculously powerful in Episode IX?' I think the answer will be yes.
I do think Luke will show at least Yoda-level Force Ghost powers in Episode IX, but more than that, the possibility of flashbacks leaves the story wide open to show Luke's astonishing level of power post-Return of the Jedi. And I think that's exactly what J.J. Abrams will do.
In the decades since Return of the Jedi, we've been imagining the Force user Luke became and have been eager to see him, green lightsaber in hand, cutting through First Order troops or the Knights of Ren, or doing something on the level of bringing down a Star Destroyer.
J.J. Abrams is a Star Wars fan, and he didn't really get to use the franchise's hero in The Force Awakens. It will always be a question of 'What if?' if we don't see Luke Skywalker really letting loose and showing the extent of his power. Flashbacks provide the perfect opportunity to show us the Luke we've always imagined, and whether he specifically brings down a Star Destroyer or not, I'm thinking we will see a ridiculously powerful Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IX.
Depending what Luke does and how he does it in Episode IX, it could have the effect of either devaluing The Last Jedi or simply bringing a fan service-y end to this trilogy and Saga. If we do see an ultra-powerful Luke, it would give fans something they've wanted to witness, while also having Luke, who began this story in A New Hope, go out with a bang in the Skywalker Saga's final chapter.
Will Luke Skywalker Be Ridiculously Powerful In Star Wars: Episode IX?