The classic utterance by Luke Skywalker — "Nobody is ever really gone" —resonates again. According to the Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy, the legendary original trilogy protagonist's influence is set to persist.
At the Star Wars Celebration 2023, Kathleen Kennedy officially confirmed Daisy Ridley's return as her character from the sequel trilogy in Lucasfilm's forthcoming Star Wars installment.
The yet-unnamed film, helmed by director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, initially planned for a 2025 release, is staged 15 years post The Rise of Skywalker, well beyond Luke's noble demise in The Last Jedi.
Rey's journey: Forging a new Jedi order with Luke Skywalker's legacy, confirms Lucasfilm president
In her conversation with GamesRadar+ regarding the future Star Wars installment, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy touched on Rey's "pledge to Luke," terming it "the crux of our narrative trajectory." Kennedy said:
"I think what's always great about Star Wars is it's a big galaxy, and we're coming off what was a major war with the First Order. And now, Rey has made a promise to Luke and that's really the core of where we're going and what this story will be."
Through the Disney Star Wars sequel trilogy and the MandoVerse on Disney+, Star Wars followers know that Mark Hamill's Luke established a Jedi Academy, attempting to resurrect the Jedi Order. However, his endeavors and disciples were crushed when Ben Solo descended into the Dark Side and morphed into Kylo Ren.
From the scanty information available regarding Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars narrative, Daisy Ridley's Rey is set to follow her hesitant mentor's path, attempting to reconstruct the Jedi Order anew.
Kennedy expanded on this, pointing out how Rey's ensuing journey enables the "chance to welcome new characters" and "commence with a clean slate." She said:
"And I think it offers just tremendous opportunity to introduce new characters and start with something fresh, because we culminated with what George Lucas was creating, and now we take all of that and move it to the next chapter."
Kennedy has previously alluded to Luke Skywalker's influence on the upcoming film. After the film's announcement at the Star Wars Celebration, she elaborated that Rey would establish a New Jedi Order "inspired by the script handed to her and the wisdom Luke imparted."
Bridging the past and future: Balancing Luke Skywalker's legacy in the upcoming Star Wars film
While Luke Skywalker's sway in Rey's forthcoming film seems logical, Kathleen Kennedy's remarks raise some contradictions. If the Lucasfilm President genuinely desires to "introduce new characters" and "propel it to the next chapter," why is this film the chosen medium?
As per the revelations about Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's movie, it feels more akin to a sequel to The Rise of Skywalker than a novel beginning, especially as it involves another Jedi Master carrying the Skywalker lineage, restoring an Order that previously crumbled twice.
Indeed, it purports to establish a "New Order," but why retain the ancient texts then? Recalling The Last Jedi, Yoda enlightened audiences that the texts weren't "page-turners" and that the library" held nothing that Rey wasn't already equipped with."
Although some fans construe Yoda's statement to indicate his knowledge about Rey possessing the texts, it remains ambiguous. Rey's pledge to Luke also adds to the confusion.
In Episode IX, Luke Skywalker merely cautioned Rey that neglecting to confront Palpatine would spell the end of the Jedi. He also entrusted her with Leia's lightsaber, asserting she would continue his sister's journey. It appears that "the core" of the franchise's next chapter is predicated on what Luke and Yoda might or might not have advised.
While the future will clarify whether this all adds up, Kennedy's insights about the next Star Wars film and Luke Skywalker hint at a challenge in harmonizing the past with the future. It is expected that Obaid-Chinoy and her crew will strike this balance before Ridley's reappearance.
The next Star Wars film targets a theatrical release on May 22, 2026.