Let’s face it and bring it out into the open now. History is going to repeat itself and Episode VII is going to bring us the death of Luke Skywalker. Shall we review? In Episode IV we see the death of the Force-using mentor to the protagonist (Ben’s death to Luke as the hero). In Episode I we also have the death of the Force-using mentor to the supposed hero or heroes (Qui-Gon Jinn to Obi-Wan and Anakin as the heroes). This is a classic move that enables the up and coming hero to actually become the hero. In each instance the Force-using mentor died at the hands of a Sith opponent and if you read the roundtable discussion on who we think the antagonists for the ST will be we pretty much agreed that a Star Wars movie is not a Star Wars movie without the clash of the red lightsaber with a variety of different colored lightsabers.
I see no reason why Episode VII won’t follow along the same lines to begin the hard journey for the next set of Jedi. If we toss out the Expanded Universe and for those that do read it we realize that the majority of fans out there are movie fans then Luke Skywalker is the only Force user (technically we’ve never seen Leia use the Force) and it makes the most sense for the mentor death to be him. From a shock value standpoint it would also be the biggest shock to the viewers. I remember how I felt when Obi-Wan Kenobi “died”. Hearing his voice tell Luke to run did little to console me while watching the movie for the first time.
In order for the death of Luke Skywalker to be a viable option for Episode VII the creators need to be ready with a likeable, believable second mentor to fill the hole caused by the death of Luke Skywalker. This would actually be a good fit for several Expanded Universe characters to be included or even a child of Han and Leia (provided that the movies go along with them being together still). Luke was able to keep training because he was told to go to Dagobah where he found Yoda. Anakin was able to train because Obi-Wan Kenobi was there to step into the mentor role. The next generation of Jedi is going to be no different.
They’ll need the freedom to get into their own sorts of trouble and I firmly believe one of the failings of the Expanded Universe in developing new Jedi is that Luke Skywalker is always there looming over the characters and it is difficult to believe, in universe, that the most powerful man in the galaxy wouldn’t go deal with the problem himself. I don’t want to see the OT all over again, I want to see new characters and I believe in order to get that Skywalker has got to go. With the rumored time jump for Episode VII and the previous history of using older adult Jedi in the Clone Wars and the Prequels there needs to be a good reason for Luke to not be the one out saving the galaxy. Mark Hamill himself said he would like to play an “Obi-Wan type of role”. In the EU we make jokes that started with 60 is the new 40 and continued on with 80 is the new 40. I don’t want to see the ST make the same mistakes as the EU and attempt to think this will be believable for the fans. Or even that this is what the fans want. This isn’t what the fans want, right?
What better way for the new antagonists to be taken as a serious threat than to off the Jedi who took down Darth Vader and the Emperor? I am having a hard time believing they are going to be able to create a villain that I will hate as much or more than the Emperor. However, if they had said villain take out Luke that would probably do it for me. I need that. I need to hate the villains in the movies. I love that part about books and movies. I’m pretty sure the reason I still don’t like the Empire is because of the burned bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Star Wars is violent. Wars bring death and destruction. I expect nothing less from Episode VII.
Disney is excited about the Star Wars franchise and they are already hinting that these movies are going to spawn side movies. They need to have young, intriguing and compelling characters to further the franchise with. We need to move past the Big 3 and I believe this will start with the death of Luke.