The full cast announcement of Star Wars Episode IX packed more surprises than many were perhaps expecting, confirming the return of both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
If Princess Leias and Luke Skywalkers return wasnt enough, Lucasfilm also confirmed Carries daughter Billie Lourd, Billy Dee Williams, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Kelly Marie Tran, Adam Driver, Anthony Daniels, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyongo, Domhnall Gleeson, Joonas Suotam will all return – alongside new additions Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.
Hamills return particularly has left some wondering how Luke Skywalker could come back following events in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which (spoiler alert) saw the Jedi masters body disappear after battling Kylo Ren using a projection of himself.
It seemed like a fitting end to Luke Skywalkers journey which began with A New Hope, staring into the double sunset with his robes drifting away after reconnecting, and making peace, with the force.
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The announcement of Hamills return in Episode IX has therefore left some (pleasantly) surprised.
I'm surprised (but pleased!) that they've included @HamillHimself in the #StarWars #EpisodeIX cast announcement. We all expected FG Luke, but I thought there'd be at least some token secrecy surrounding his appearance.
— Skye (@skyelo_ren) July 27, 2018
everyone: they're gonna smuggle mark hamill onto set for ix in top secrecy
jj abrams: so anyway mark hamill is officially on the cast list
— ikra (@dunwaIl) July 27, 2018
But they probably shouldnt be.
As weve seen with Jedi characters throughout Star Wars, death is rarely the end – so heres how Luke Skywalker could return in Episode IX.
The most obvious (and likely) answer is Luke Skywalker will return as a force ghost, mirroring the arc of his master Obi Wan Kenobi.
It also makes sense considering he was joined by the ghost of Yoda in The Last Jedi, so a return to offer Rey some legendary wisdom ahead of another Kylo Ren confrontation would be incredibly apt.
Luke could also return in flashback form, much like The Last Jedis sequences where he explains Kylo Rens turbulent path to the dark side to Rey.
Theres certainly some mystery still hanging around Kylo Ren – so could there be more truths still to emerge from his time under Luke Skywalkers wing?
Hes actually still alive
Theres also the chance Luke could still be alive. The fact The Last Jedi opted to have Skywalkers end be a mysterious vanishing over a traditional death, after all, has sparked speculation ever since of his return in bodily form.
But would director JJ Abrams cheapen a moment which holds so much significance? We dont buy it.
Wait, could this be a massive bluff?
Dont mess with our hearts, Abrams.
Star Wars: Episode IX is set to be released on 19 December 2019.