Luke Skywalker's journey in the original trilogy is the heart and soul of Star Wars. From farmboy to Jedi Knight, the Son of Skywalker learns the ways of the Force, triumphs over darkness, and saves his father's soul. In the process, he's forced to confront his fears and undergo a challenging path to complete his training, the likes of which no other Jedi has endured.
But while the critical junctions in Luke's growth as a Jedi are depicted in the films, ancillary material was needed to fill in the gaps as the character matured offscreen. To that end, Lucasfilm has leaned heavily into the comic book medium.
Marvel Comics' mainline Star Wars series have centered on the escapades of the original trilogy's heroes, with the 2015 line beginning shortly after A New Hope and culminating after 75 issues with the Rebellion's establishment of Echo Base on Hoth.
Star Wars fans are well aware that The Empire Strikes Back is a disaster for the protagonists, particularly for Luke. The Star Wars (2020) comic line delves deeper into the Skywalker's thoughts and feelings following his devastating defeat on Cloud City, posing the question of whether or not he wants to pursue the Jedi path at all. Ultimately, Luke comes around, and he continues his journey on his own.
The War of the Bounty Hunters miniseries forced him to deviate from his pursuits, but with Crimson Dawn's dog and pony show with Han Solo over with, Luke has returned to his Jedi business. A new arc finds him traveling across the galaxy to charted Jedi locations - including some instantly recognizable ones to fans.
Luke Skywalker Visits Lothal and Ilum
A preview shared on the official Star Wars website reveals Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 traveling to Lothal in Marvel Comics' Star Wars (2020) Issue 19:
The young Jedi also makes a stop on Ilum, where the Empire is in the midst of constructing what becomes Starkiller Base:
Connection to a Larger World
Lothal has become something of an iconic location in the galaxy far, far away.
Introduced in Star Wars Rebels, Lothal is the homeworld of Ezra Bridger, who himself is just a day or two older than Luke. The animated series put significant emphasis on Ezra's deep bond with the planet, culminating in the Jedi freeing the citizens of the Empire's grip and going missing with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
What makes Luke's visit a real treat for Rebels fans is the nod to the events that transpired in Season 4, though the hero has no knowledge of what happened. Ezra and Kanan Jarrus opened the Jedi Temple on Lothal multiple times in Rebels, as Luke attempts to do in the comic issue. Unfortunately for him, that temple may never return.
Following Kanan's death, Ezra is guided by a Lothwolf to the temple, where the Empire is seen excavating the site. Ezra manages to gain entry to the World Between Worlds, where he saves Ahsoka Tano but learns that he must let go of his master. The temple begins to collapse when the young Jedi exits the World, and everything is completely gone when he awakens and bids a final farewell to Kanan.
Luke is standing right where Ezra and the Imperial excavation team were, but the temple has sealed itself and returned to the safety of Lothal's surface. While Luke at this time knows nothing about the World Between Worlds, the comic presents intriguing possibilities for what he might learn should he someday gain access to the mystical space existing within the Force.
The pit-stop to Ilum is a neat tie to the Jedi: Fallen Order video game, which was the first piece of canon material to show the Empire's destruction of the sacred Jedi world.
Once a place where Jedi went to find kyber crystals for their lightsabers, Ilum was overrun by Imperial forces following the demise of the Order, and was subsequently occupied by the First Order under the name Starkiller Base. Luke's visit during the construction of the super weapon opens the door for stories to be told in the years preceding The Force Awakens, perhaps when Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is on the trail of snuffing out the brewing evil in the galaxy.
Star Wars #19 hits shelves December 8.