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Why no Luke in the 'Force Awakens' trailers? Rating the theories

Ever since Luke Skywalker went missing from yet another "Force Awakens" trailer, theories about the Jedi's whereabouts have abounded. CNET's Danny Gallagher dissects them and adds two of his own.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Luke Skywalker has been missing from all three "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailers, and it's making the Internet foam at the mouth. The Internet can't wait until the movie's December release to find out what happened to Luke Skywalker. It needs to know now! Right now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now!

Fans have thus been busy unleashing a bunch of theories on social media and message boards about the elder Skywalker's fate, all further spurred on by director J.J. Abrams' revelation that it's " no accident" Luke has been a trailer no-show. Some believe Luke has become a villain who fights for the dark side. Others have put forth the notion that new villain Kylo Ren is actually Luke Skywalker. Let's break down the top three fan hypotheses and then look at a couple of my own.

Theory No. 1: Kylo Ren is Luke Skywalker.

This one doesn't seem very plausible. Abrams has a talent for crafting unique mysteries (think of his early work on "Lost" and the surprises he sprinkled in both "Star Trek" movies). Granted, sometimes the best place to hide something is the most obvious place to look for it. However, it feels like Abrams could think of something much more clever than just turning Skywalker into the new Darth Vader. Even M. Night Shyamalan wouldn't do that.

Abrams is above making such an easy Occam's razor move. He's so good at staying one step ahead of his audience that he probably knows the next theory I'm going to discuss, the next joke I'm going to write and what I'm going to order from the Chinese restaurant up the street for dinner.


Is this hooded man with the robotic arm Luke Skywalker or just J.J. Abrams screwing with our heads?

Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

Theory No. 2: Luke Skywalker has crossed over to the dark side.

This one's not totally out of the realm of possibility. Turning evil in the hopes of achieving peace seems like it's baked into Luke's family bloodline, and family proclivities can be hard to fight with force-lightning powers and a lightsaber. It's like when you realize before it's too late that you're wearing black knee-high socks with sandals or vigorously digging in your ears in public just like your old man used to do.

Theory No. 3: Luke Skywalker is dead.

Brace yourselves. Death is an inevitable fact of life, especially in the "Star Wars" universe, and not even a powerful Jedi like Luke is immune from its clutches. The manner of his passing could set some interesting stories in motion. He could have given his life in battle to teach an aspiring Jedi about sacrifice. He could have lived to be an old man who quietly passes away like Master Yoda. He could have suffered a heart attack due to an overdose of mitochlorians caused by an addiction to "Low-M" pills. The possibilities are endless.

Death is never the end for a powerful Jedi, however. A dead Luke could show up in the new film as a spirit hologram to reveal a great truth to young Finn or his sister Leia. So we'd get the (presumably young) CGI-ed Jedi back in a totally plausible plotline that's worthy of his legendary biography. This could also lead to some interesting perks for fans. If J.J. really wanted to please the masses, he could have Luke get into a ghost lightsaber fight with his father one more time.

Theory No. 4: Luke Skywalker was in every one of the trailers.

Maybe Luke Skywalker was there the whole time but you just couldn't see him. That's because Luke has gained the power of invisibility! Oh, so you buy the idea that Jedi can control people's actions and move stuff with their minds, but somehow invisibility doesn't sound "plausible" to you?

Theory No. 5: Luke Skywalker exists in another realm of consciousness.

Picture these closing scenes. Finn realizes his potential and chooses to pursue a new path as a Jedi. Kylo Ren overcomes his temporary defeat and plots to squash the uprising when he realizes he's extremely late for an important staff meeting. Chewbacca and Han Solo, who is wearing a brown fedora, ride off into the sunset on unicorns with hot dogs for horns.

Then we see an aging Luke Skywalker bolt upright in his bed and exclaim, "My word, that was a weird dream." He goes back to sleep and the closing credits roll. Yeah, maybe that scenario's unsatisfying and destroys every theory you ever had about Star Wars and its fictional universe, but I'll bet you'd never see it coming.

Got any theories of your own? Share them in the comments section.