Fans have been wanting to know the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker ever since they started to notice his missing presence in The Force Awakens promotion. He’s hardly been in any of the trailers and TV promos, save a voiceover taken from Return of the Jedi in the second trailer and a quick shot of what appears to be his metal hand touching R2D2—although Abrams won’t confirm or deny it. He’s also missing from the main poster, and he doesn’t have his own character poster.
And although Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican assures fans that Luke is actually in The Force Awakens, even he wasn’t able to pull off any Jedi mind tricks to get Abrams or Hamill to divulge Luke’s whereabouts. Instead, they talk a bit about who Luke might be to these new characters in the nearly 40 years since the events of Return of the Jedi took place.
There’s a reason why Rey, who was abandoned by her family on Jakku as a child, asks Han Solo in the most recent trailer if the stories she has heard about the Jedi are true. After decades have passed, the Jedi are practically lost legends.
“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 told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
The Rebels might not know about Luke (or have only heard snippets of him, Leia, and Han), but for the First Order stormtroopers, it’s a much different story. Luke’s story is spun with plenty of propaganda from the First Order, who paint him as the person who destroyed the Empire. Rey might not know who the Jedi are, but John Boyega‘s Finn certainly does.
The bigger question, and a key part of the film, is how did Finn get his hands on Luke’s old lightsaber?
Hamill, however, is even more tight-lipped about Luke. He’s not really allowed to talk about him, not even in interviews, and while he can shut down questions easily, he finds it hard to say no to children who want to know what happened to their hero.
For him, there are no right questions to ask about Luke.
“There should be no questions,” Hamill said. “You go in and it’s a brand new fresh approach at a franchise that we’ve known all our lives.”
Andy Serkis revealed more information about another character we’ve heard and seen very little about to date, Supreme Leader Snoke. Aside from Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata, he’s the only other performance-capture character in the film—one who wasn’t fully formed until later in the shooting process.
But he can tease a little bit about Snoke, who he says would’ve been nearly impossible to portray with just prosthetics. He also likes to plan far ahead instead of just looking at the current picture, and he’s a new character.
“Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful,” Serkis explained. “Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.”