Star Wars The Force Awakens: Whose is the grave by Luke Skywalker in the final scene?
Rey finds where Luke has been hiding
The final scene in The Force Awakens
In what's possibly one of the greatest scenes of all time, the final scene of Star Wars The Force Awakens, we witness the long-awaited return of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. After landing the Millennium Falcon, Rey navigates her way to the top of a mysterious island - allegedly the first Jedi temple. Upon watching, the scene can be likened to the first of Dagobah in the original series: our hero/heroine looking for mythical Jedi Master Luke/Yoda in order to learn the ways of the Force.
Luke and the gravestone
Did you spot the grave?
At the very end of the scene (and film altogether), Rey finally finds Luke. The camera follows Rey approaching the Jedi Master, and the audience get a glimpse of what looks to be a manmade gravestone. The final shot - the panning out of the island, leaving Luke and Rey to start her training - further reveals the headstone to the audience. It's quite clear from this shot that the structure isn't natural. It's quite different to the rest of the large rocky areas on the island, and in terms of where Luke is stood, it's the only thing to stick out of the ground, up to about knee height.
It may be that this is simply just a rock. But for the purpose of fan theory (and this hub), let's say it really is a gravestone.
Is it actually a gravestone?
The following points suggest that is is a gravestone:
- Luke is stood looking over the headstone, possibly in mourning
- It's seen on an island said to be the first Jedi temple
- It sticks out of the ground, unlike and other of the rocks around where Luke is standing
- Its shape suggests that it's manmade rather than natural
- It would be an incredibly peaceful resting place
So, are you convinced yet? Let's take a look at the possible reasons Luke would have built a gravestone on the island housing the first Jedi temple.
A tribute to a long lost daughter?
If Rey is Luke's daughter - which is what many people believe - then he may be in mourning. We, the audience, know that Rey is alive and well and was left on the planet Jakku, potentially for her own safety. Luke may not have known Rey survived Kylo Ren's massacre and could have kept himself marooned on the island as self-punishment for failing to protect his own daughter. Following this, he could have created a memorial for his lost daughter.
This theory also addresses Luke's expression when he turns around to find Rey with his old lightsaber in hand. He looks shocked and bewildered, but peaceful. Perhaps, if this is the case, he's lost for words to find that his daughter survived the massacre.
The only problem with this theory is that Luke is the most powerful Jedi in existence at this point. We know from periods films that Luke and Leia and a strong connection with one another through the Force. Surely Luke would have been able to sense his daughter's presence in the galaxy through his strong affinity with the Force? If so, then perhaps the gravestone isn't an ode to Rey after all.
A memorial for his wife?
Is Luke's wife buried here?
If the tombstone isn't a memorial to Rey, then perhaps it's a headstone for Luke's late wife or partner. We know that the Jedi Council strictly forbid relationships (although Anakin went completely against this in the prequel trilogy, much to the dismay of his mentor, Obi Wan). However, the new trilogy is set long after the originals, and therefore way, way after the prequels. When the Jedi were all but destroyed following Order 66, the Jedi Council disbanded. Does this mean the rules for Jedi and relationships changed? Were the Jedi free to do what they pleased?
Furthermore, consider this: Luke and Leia were said to be the last hope for the Jedi and the balance of the Force. Said to be the only living Jedi after the deaths of Yoda and Obi Wan, Luke must have felt it a personal mission to ensure the continuation of the Jedi way. To do so, he would need to find and protect force-sensitive children that he could train; younglings. Perhaps a part of this was to father younglings of his own, in addition to travelling the galaxy in search of others. This seems like quite a plausible theory.
If this is the case, then who was Luke's partner? In the now non-canon Expanded Universe, Mara Jade was Luke's wife. However, no one has any clue as to who J.J. Abrams would have cast as his wife in The Force Awakens. Regardless of her identity, it would appear that she met her end some time before the start of The Force Awakens - did Kylo Ren kill her in his massacre of Luke's pupils?
One final point: Star Wars is all about family. Kathleen Kennedy has stated this herself. She also said that the trilogy would follow the Skywalker legacy. If Rey is Luke Skywalker's daughter, then it would be a touching end to the film to have her return to her father, at her mother's resting place.
This is a theory that I, personally, would like to see pan out. I think Rey's reunion with her father and late mother would be a brilliant "OMG" moment for the next instalment of the new Star Wars trilogy. Plus, if Rey's late mother was force-sensitive (which is likely), then we could see a force ghost in the next film!
Mourning the loss of Han Solo?
Another potentiality is that Luke, like Leia, has sensed the death of his friend (and pretty much brother-in-law), Han Solo. We saw in The Force Awakens, that Leia sensed the loss of Solo. Perhaps Luke felt it too, despite being a million miles away in solitary confinement. If he did, then the Jedi thing to do would be to build a memorial to him. This wouldn't be out of character for Luke; remember, he built his father's funeral pyre at the end of Return of the Jedi. (Which begs the question: How did Kylo Ren get Darth Vader's mask?!)
This is probably the most likely scenario. Han's death is very recent and Luke will still be in mourning. The memorial could be newly built - in fact he may have just finished building it when Rey arrives - this would fit with the continuity of the film. Plus, if he hadn't just finished building it, why would he just happen to be stood there at the very moment Rey finds him? ...I suppose you could just put it down to the Force.
A memorial to Han Solo would serve as an immediate connection between Rey and Luke. Rey showed in The Force Awakens that she had heard stories about Han and Luke, and was pretty much a Han Solo fangirl for a short while in the film. If it turns out that Rey is not Luke's daughter, but is in fact the sister of Kylo Ren and daughter of Leia and Han, then Luke's tribute to him will be even more emotionally significant to Rey than it would otherwise be.