Could Luke Skywalker return from the dead in Episode IX?


Luke Skywalker will likely return as a Force ghost in Episode IX, but an early script of Return of the Jedi suggests he could return to the world of the living as bonafide flesh and blood.

Reddit user AscAnsio recently uploaded an image featuring part of an early draft for Return of the Jedi found in the properly named J.W. Rinzler book, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Parts of the early script suggests that Jedi could actually return to the physical realm from the netherworld of the Force.

Take a look at the portion of the script below. It takes place during the film’s climactic confrontation between Luke Skywalker and the Emperor and features both Ben Kenobi and Yoda who decide to show up in Force ghost form to help Luke.

*For full effect, insert fanboy squealing here*

Let’s unpack what just happened. The Emperor just finished telling Luke how his overconfidence in his friends was his weakness. Ben Kenobi’s voice rings out, telling Palpatine that it’s him, not Luke, who overestimates his abilities. Note that this takes place near a “steaming lake,” so it’s safe to assume that the location was changed to the Emperor’s Throne Room on the Second Death Star later in the filmmaking process.

After Palpatine and Kenobi verbally grapple with each other – which we will come back to – Yoda makes an appearance. The Emperor appears visibly shaken by Yoda’s arrival, linking their relationship, albeit unintentionally at the time, from Revenge of the Sith to Return of the Jedi. Remember, Palpatine last saw Yoda while he was quite-literally throwing the Senate chamber at him. As far as he knew, Yoda was dead or dying. Therefore, the Emperor couldn’t help but back away in surprise when Yoda appeared in this version of Return of the Jedi.

Yoda’s response: “I survived, as did many others.”

Phew! What an emotional way for us to remember all the Jedi who perished in Order 66 while simultaneously finding hope in the fact that Yoda and Ben — and who knows how many other Jedi — survived to fight another day and restore hope to the galaxy. Of course, viewers in 1983 would have had no knowledge of Order 66, but they would have understood enough and all would have become clear over 20 years later in 2005 with the release of Revenge of the Sith.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

Did any of these Jedi manage to survive Order 66?

Let’s go back to the discussion between Obi-Wan and the Emperor right before Yoda shows up. It clearly establishes a precedent for a Force power we haven’t seen before.

"And if you return to this dimension, I will easily defeat you."

Wait… what?! Did Palpatine just tell Obi-Wan if he returns to the dimension of the living he’ll easily just kill him again? Apparently, after entering the netherworld of the Force, one can return to the physical world of the living. Why else would the Emperor claim that any attempt by Ben to come back to physically help Luke would be futile?

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

Can a Jedi return from the netherworld of the Force?

We know that Jedi can continue to influence the galaxy even after death. Obi-Wan Kenobi provided guidance to Luke throughout the Original Trilogy and Yoda actually altered the physical world when he set fire to the tree in The Last Jedi. The above script excerpt alludes to the fact that Jedi may be able to actually fully come back from the dead. But if you think all this sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, or you’re under the impression that maxi big da Force, keep reading. You might change your mind and realize that it’s true — all of it.

Another portion of Return of the Jedi’s script — this one from the end celebration in the Ewok village — suggests even further that Jedi can, in fact, return from the dead.

More from Dork Side of the Force

For those of you with poor eyesight, the important part here reads as follows:

"Luke looks up and sees Ben move out of the darkness into the moonlit glade. He is not a shimmering image, but real flesh and blood. Luke stands in surprise."

*Insert heavy breathing*

Pack it up folks, we’re done here. Luke Skywalker will be back in Episode IX. Confirmed. I’m kidding, of course. But a fanboy can dream, can’t he?

This early version of Return of the Jedi’s finale is in no way canon, but it’s fun to speculate. If George Lucas considered letting Jedi come back to life, maybe J.J. Abrams will take the idea and bring Luke back in Episode IX. If any Jedi is knowledgeable and powerful enough to perform such a feat, after all, it’s surely Luke Skywalker.

More likely, we’ll see a Force ghost version of Luke Skywalker who doesn’t yet seem to be finished playing his part in a galaxy far, far away…

Next: Here’s how Star Wars is slowly making Revan’s story canon

Do you think Luke will return in either physical or ghost form when Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters in December 2019? Let us know in the comments below.