Much has been made about why we haven’t seen Luke Skywalker yet in any of the promotional materials for The Force Awakens – not on the official poster, nor in any of the three trailers (save for the one metal hand rising up to R2-D2, out from under a dark cloak). The most popular speculation trending at this point is that Luke has gone to the Dark Side. I’m not buying that (almost seems too obvious in its own way), but that’s for another discussion…
Suffice it to say, Luke’s absence from the promotional materials shouldn’t suggest to us that there’s now a minimized role for the Jedi Master. On the contrary, for director JJ Abrams, Luke Skywalker is what this movie (and possibly this new trilogy) is all about – as reported on this past summer in a revealing Entertainment Weekly interview.
Abrams, who initially turned down the Episode VII directing gig more than once, was eventually wooed by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy when she asked him one simple but very provocative question:
“Who is Luke Skywalker?”
Or, more broadly, here was Kennedy’s pitch: “Kennedy persuaded [Abrams] to helm Star Wars: The Force Awakens by asking a simple question, one with the potential to upend our core beliefs about the galaxy far, far away. “In the context of talking about story and laying out what we were thinking, I said one thing to him,” Kennedy recalls. “‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’”
The article goes on to say, “Abrams, who’s 49 now but was only 11 when the original Star Wars debuted in 1977, decided he needed to know the answer, even if he had to devise it himself. “He said, ‘Oh my God, I just got the chills. I’m in,’” Kennedy says. “I mean, it really was almost that quickly.”
To read the full interview, including insights from co-screenwriter and Star Wars creative veteran Lawrence Kasdan, click here.