Star Wars: The Last Jedi will always be known as the movie where Luke Skywalker attempted to kill his nephew, Ben Solo. Of course, Luke admitted it was a mistake to do what he did and a wild new theory about Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker suggests the Jedi Master’s actions may not have been his own.
At this point, all theories have been pointing to Emperor Palpatine having a tremendous amount of power over almost every character in the Star Wars franchise. And he very well may have exerted his influence over Luke. But, how could Palps do that if he’s dead? Well, this theory puts forth the idea that the compass Luke had in The Last Jedi contained remnants of Palpatine’s essence and that’s what drove Luke to try and kill Kylo Ren.
Still with us? Good, let’s break it down.
We know Luke already had the compass in The Last Jedi, but its existence in movie canon directly connects back to Star Wars: Battlefront II, which explained how he’d found the compass in Emperor Palpatine’s secret vault. Redditor u/NumeralJoker theorizes that Palps “deliberately planted the compass as bait to lure Luke in, infiltrate the Jedi temple’s presence, and orchestrate Kylo Ren’s fall.”
Basically, Palpatine was able to influence Luke to kill Kylo because he’d put a piece of his soul inside the compass. Since the compass belonged first to the Sith lord, he might have known that Luke would find it and that it would lead him to where Palps needed him to go: Ahch-to. So he planted it there to work both as a hiding place and as a powerful contraption for his evil bidding. With a bit of the Dark side embedded within the item, it worked like one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes and, once opened, influenced Luke into killing his nephew. (If you’re not a Harry Potter fan you could also think of it like the One Ring in Lord of the Rings.)
It’s not a perfect theory though. Especially since the Emperor died long before Kylo was even born. How did he even get that compass to the cave? If we assume Palpatine never really died, then it makes a bit more sense. It’s also possible he just spread these Horcruxes all over the galaxy and figured one of them would do something useful.
Either way, if this theory is true, then Palps’ plan worked like a charm. You could argue that the compass pushed Kylo to the Dark side and also influenced Luke, leading to the destruction of his Jedi temple and creating an opening for the First Order to rise to power.
With the addition of the Battlefront II evidence, this theory has a lot of merit and so much of it could actually work in Episode IX. The compass’ importance is obvious considering that it exists across two Star Wars mediums. Plus, it connects Palpatine with Luke, as well as to Kylo, and would explain the reasons for the Jedi Master’s surprising actions. Though there’s no telling whether Episode IX will actually include the compass, it was confirmed that there was a scene in the script of The Last Jedi that included an explanation for the item and how it guided Luke to Ahch-to.
Perhaps that scene was filmed and will show up by way of a flashback in Rise of Skywalker. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye out for the compass’ reappearance.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.