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Where's Luke? New 'Star Wars' trailer sparks theories

Mark Hamill doesn't appear in 'The Force Awakens' trailer despite being in the movie. Don't worry, fans: You'll get your fix.

The Force AwakensThe Force AwakensLooks like the gang's all here for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." But wait... where's Luke Skywalker? (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Why did millions of sci-fi fans tune in to "Monday Night Football" last night? Not to watch the Philadelphia Eagles pound the New York Giants, but to see the first extended trailer for "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens." (Disney owns both ESPN and the "Star Wars" franchise, so it makes sense.) J.J. Abrams' vision of George Lucas' universe got fans all excited and emotional, especially because the trailer includes appearances of old favorites Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). But where was Luke Skywalker?

It's a big mystery, because not only was Mark Hamill not shown in the trailer, but he's also missing from the poster that was released on Sunday. What gives? We do know he's in "The Force Awakens," but it sure seems like Abrams and company are taking pains to hide what happens to him, aren't they? We've got some theories as to why he's not showing up:

Luke doesn't make it out of the movie alive, or is already dead


There's a thought that there's a big plot twist involving Luke, one of which is that he dies sometime during the movie. At first, that seems absurd, because we know that in September, Hamill was in Ireland shooting "Episode VIII," the movie being produced by the award-winning Israeli filmmaker Ram Bergman and directed by American Rian Johnson.

But just because Hamill is shooting the next episode doesn't mean that Luke is still alive. Remember, he's a Jedi, and his essence is part of The Force. Just like Obi-Wan, Yoda and his father Anakin, he can always come back in ghostly form to guide the next generation of Jedi.

Luke has crossed to the Dark Side

Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer screenshotCould Luke Skywalker be behind this mask? We'll find out on Dec. 18. (Photo: Screenshot via Lucasfilm/YouTube)

In the trailer there's a dark, masked member of the Empire that says "I'll finish what you started." That's Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who "is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film,” Abrams told Variety. It's a pretty safe bet that he's referring to Darth Vader, given the sight of the now-deceased Sith Lord's beaten mask in the trailer. An unlikely but possible scenario is that Luke has become the Emperor, controlling Kylo Ren and the rest of the Empire from a dark lair somewhere. Yes, we know that Luke killed Anakin/Vader in "Return of the Jedi," but that doesn't mean that over the intervening years he hasn't turned. It would make for a heck of a plot twist, wouldn't it?

Luke is in seclusion and looks like Yoda

YodaMaybe Luke is in seclusion and is old and wizened like his mentor Yoda. (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Don't laugh. Having to channel the Force on a daily basis ages a person. Like his mentor Yoda, Luke may have taken to an isolated planet like Dagobah and just become a wrinkled old coot. Considering Hamill has made a living over the last couple of decades doing great voice work in shows like "Batman: The Animated Series," maybe he'll put on a wizened voice and have the new Jedi come to him.

We'll all find out what happened to Luke on Dec. 18. But it'll be fun to throw around some theories until then, won't it?

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