J.J. Abrams Talks Luke Skywalker’s Mythic Status in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

J.J. Abrams opens up about Luke Skywalker’s status in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

We’ve heard a lot about the characters of Star Wars: The Force Awakens these past few days, but there’s one that has been on everyone’s mind given his lack of appearances in the marketing so far – Luke Skywalker. Speaking with EW, director J.J. Abrams opened up about how Luke’s path in the context of the film was a big draw for him to direct, namely how everyone else in the movie sees Luke. 

“It was the thing that struck me the hardest, which was the idea that doing a story that took place nearly 40 years after Jedi meant that there would be a generation for whom Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia would be as good as myth,” Abrams says. “They’d be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They would be characters who they may have heard of, but maybe not. They’d be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale.”

He goes on to use Daisy Ridley’s Rey as an example, what would a scavenger that lives along on a desolate planet think of the man the helped bring down the Empire all those decades ago?

“To someone who is living alone and struggling without a formal education or support system, who knows what that person in the literal middle of nowhere would have ever heard about any of these things, or would ever know, and how much that person would have to infer and piece together on their own,” Abrams says. “So the idea that someone like that would begin to learn that the Jedi were real, and that the Force exists, and that there’s a power in the universe that sounds fanciful but is actually possible, was an incredibly intriguing notion.”

As revealed earlier this week, John Boyega’s Finn knows very well who Luke Skywalker is thanks to his Stormtrooper training, but the journey of the film is what will make him potentially change his mind, especially after he gets a hold of Luke’s original lightsaber.

“For Finn, he’s been raised from the ashes of the Empire,” says Boyega. “He’s been taught about Luke Skywalker, he knows about his history. For him it’s like joining the army and then learning about one of the great enemies of your country. It has that effect on him. But in terms of the Force, and the magical stuff that happens, that is the point where Finn kind of questions what is what. What is the Force, what part does Luke Skywalker play in all of this?”

Opening in theaters on December 18, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi.

You can read what some of the other cast members of Star Wars: The Force Awakens had to say about their characters, including Harrison Ford on Han Solo, Carrie Fisher on Leia OrganaLupita Nyong’o on Maz Kanata, J.J. Abrams on the villainous First Order, and Andy Serkis on Supreme Leader Snoke.