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Star Wars excitement is at fever pitch right now, and while the world eagerly discusses Rogue One, fans can't help looking forward to next year's Star Wars: Episode VIII. The Force Awakens essentially relaunched the entire franchise in an epic tale that starred Daisy Ridley's Rey, and ended with her finally discovering Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker. What will happen in Star Wars 8? Only time will tell. Well, time — and the internet.
Our first clue?
Enter YouTuber Mike Zeroh, who's been chatting to four different sources — all of whom have said the same thing. It seems that a trailer is in the works, to be released in Quarter 1 of 2017. That trailer will include a single line of dialogue from the legendary Mark Hamill himself:
Now, Mike Zeroh is professional enough to caution that we shouldn't treat this as Gospel; he's confident of the trustworthiness of two of the sources, but is still questioning the other two. Still, let's assume that he's right, and this is indeed a line of dialogue in the film. It's pretty fascinating — because while it cuts to the heart of the challenge facing #StarWars, it also hints that Lucasfilm has something pretty original in mind.
Star Wars has a problem.
Here's the thing; when I say 'Star Wars', what springs to mind? #LukeSkywalker, #DarthVader, Death Stars, X-Wings, and Ewoks. These are all familiar, much-loved ideas that have stayed with us for literally generations now. New Star Wars movies have to stand in the deep shadow cast by some of the greatest cinematic legends of all time, and writers, directors and producers are well aware that they're being judged against the classics.
That's why The Force Awakens was essentially a rehash of A New Hope; to appeal to the nostalgia, and to try to get us to connect to the new character of Rey in the way we did Luke. Unfortunately, it was only partly successful; although Mark Hamill's iconic character only appeared briefly in the movie, he was integral to the plot. After all, the entire movie was kick-started by the Resistance and the First Order trying to seek out Luke Skywalker!
That gives Episode VIII a real challenge. The purpose of this entire trilogy is essentially to pass on the torch to a new generation, but we had an entire film that was essentially buildup to a return of the old guard. The First Order wasn't terrified of some random Force-user from Jakku; they feared the return of Luke Skywalker. While Leia was delighted to have Rey on-side, that was just a happy coincidence; in contrast, she's literally been scouring the galaxy looking for Luke. Perhaps unwisely, Luke has become the focal point of this trilogy.
And he shouldn't be. The focal point should be Rey. That's a problem for Lucasfilm, and the core plot of Star Wars 8 will surely be an attempt to carefully shift our focus on to the next generation. This is why I think Mike Zeroh's leak is probably correct; right from that first trailer, the dialogue is an attempt to reinforce the importance of Rey. That's exactly the approach Lucasfilm need to take.
But what does this sentence mean?
Let me repeat that sentence again:
"You contain the spark that will rekindle the fire."
The wording is absolutely fascinating, and — again — it's ambiguous and mysterious enough that I can believe this dialogue is really from the film. Looking back at A New Hope, that 'new hope' was a person — Luke Skywalker himself. Here, though, the dialogue doesn't say that Rey is the spark that will rekindle the fire. No, instead the dialogue says that she contains the spark within her.
It's possible that this is just a reference to the fact that she's Force-sensitive. After all, Yoda himself proclaimed:
In the sense Yoda's using it, the word 'luminous' essentially means that we are spiritual beings, emitting a spiritual force — for good or evil. So Luke, a Jedi Master of the Light Side, contains a light within him that irradiates the world around him; whereas Palpatine's darkness cloaked all around him in evil. If we take the quote this way, then Luke is simply referring to Rey's Force-sensitivity, and challenging her to channel the Light Side — and in so doing, to reshape the Galaxy. That would cast back quite effectively to The Force Awakens — it is in fact Rey who awakens to the Force, and in so doing she transforms the Galaxy.
That said, this seems a tad too convenient an explanation to me. Remember that Star Wars often deals with matters of prophecy; Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One, after all, conceived of the Force itself. It's entirely possible that there are other people who have a unique role in the will of the Force, and that these people simply can't be described or understood in the same way as your typical Jedi or Sith. Given how easily Rey learned the basics of the Force — right down to lightsaber combat and mental manipulation — I wouldn't be at all surprised if she's one of these unusual Force-chosen people.
If that's the case, it's possible that Luke's words are even more metaphysical; that she literally carries something unique within her, something from the Force itself, that has the power to reshape the Galaxy. By this reading, the most important thing Luke can do is simply to teach her how to release that which the Force has placed within her.
I make no bones about it: I personally think this dialogue is probably accurate. On the one hand, it dovetails perfectly with the challenge Lucasfilm is facing; on the other, it does so in an intriguing, ambiguous way. If this is indeed dialogue from the trailer, I can't wait till Quarter 1 of 2017 — it won't be long till we see the rest of it...