My retailer threw out this great idea at the shop a few weeks ago and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. Notion is that in the wake of yet another Jedi massacre, Luke has been secretly rebuilding his order by inverting the Sith’s famous “Rule of Two,” traveling all over the galaxy to personally train new operatives one at a time, and then hiding their abilities and knowledge of them behind powerful memory blocks that only he can safely remove.
This brilliant theory exploded in my head like a grenade, and I started fantasizing about how perfect and awesome that kind of staging point could be for Episode VIII. The Jedi Order turned into a sleeper cell is probably too politically charged for Disney, but wow that could make for some legitimately new stories, and it would explain how Rey’s wielding of The Force is a little more advanced than we’ve previously seen from young Jedi. Either Luke, or Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow’s character) and his Church of the Force have been continuing her training for years on Jakku, and Kylo Ren’s mind probe weakened the memory blocks, “awakening” these dormant abilities. Or maybe Kylo’s probe allowed her to “borrow” some of his abilities, since there were a few memories that also came through the link.
So with this all in mind, here’s my completely made up, speculative, fan fiction style take on how I’d personally like to see Episode VIII open…
Lucasfilm Ltd. logo materializes onto the screen, holding for a couple beats longer than usual, as we hear the piece of John Williams’ score that ended The Force Awakens. On the official soundtrack, this song is titled “The Jedi Steps,” and it masterfully blends new, yet familiar elements with one of the most recognizable pieces of music in film history, something that personally hits me right in the guts every single time I hear it. EVERY. TIME. And boom, we’re right back on the mountaintop with Rey holding the saber out to Luke, still no words exchanged, but her eyes saying clear as day, “WE HAVE TO GO BACK, LUKE—WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!”
The battle-hardened and emotionally scarred Master Skywalker isn’t so sure though, and all of a sudden, before he can prepare himself, he experiences a Force Vision of his own.
It’s his Jedi Academy, Kylo Ren and his Knights (more of Luke’s former students turned renegade) slaughtering their former friends, brothers, and sisters in a frightening, visceral display of Dark Side ferocity. No one is safe, and right before Kylo can strike down a young terrified Rey, whose slightly older alien protector has just been viciously killed, Master Skywalker is there, blocking the attack with his father’s blue saber. He pushes Kylo Ren back, summoning his other saber (the green one from Return of the Jedi) into his other hand, and we can see that the anger and rage is pouring off of him. He dives into the Knights, going HAM with both sabers, surrendering himself entirely to The Force and becoming a blur of lightsaber strikes, parries, and Force pushes.
They’re fighting on top of a field littered with bodies and it’s clear that Luke has truly failed. He’s failed them all, and even though this display from our hero is glorious and exhilarating, the pain driving it is visible and breaks our hearts into pieces along with Luke’s. The movie has only existed for a couple minutes, and we’re already in tears.
Skywalker kills a few of them, but Kylo himself cuts away Luke’s entire right arm, and his Knights regain the upper hand. Kylo is taunting his former teacher, telling him that the Light Side of the Force is inherently weaker and will always be extinguished by the power of the darkness. Luke has never felt anger like this before, and he feels the Dark Side calling to him, offering him the power to destroy all of the enemies before him. Skywalker is looking down at the ground while on his knees, his shoulders and body gently shaking, and when Luke looks back up at his awful, spoiled, traitorous nephew, his eyes are that of the Sith.
With his remaining hand, Master Skywalker throws lightning.
The power of the attack sends Kylo and his Knights toppling through the air, overwhelmed and completely taken by surprise. Their injured, mangled bodies are twitching as the energy tendrils dissipate, and Luke advances to finish them off, until hearing the cries of Rey behind him. He blinks and comes back to himself, looking down at his hand wondering what has he done as the Knights limp away, swearing vengeance, but wanting no further parts of Luke Skywalker.
Back to the present and the mountain, and both of them are on the verge of completely breaking down, because this horrible, powerful vision was shared between them and Rey’s memories are finally coming back to her. She remembers everything now, and says to Luke, “Father, please…”
That does it, and after another few seconds, his robotic hand opens up. He breathes in deeply and calmly exhales and the saber is yanked from Rey’s grasp and flies to his hand with incredible speed, and a split second before it touches his now opened robotic palm, the music comes in like a freight train with that familiar logo and that music.
The crawl begins, and the first words read
REVENGE OF THE JEDI