- "He was training a new generation of Jedi. One boy, an apprentice turned against him, destroyed it all. Luke felt responsible… He just walked away from everything."
- ―Han Solo
The destruction of the Jedi Temple of Luke Skywalker occurred in 28 ABY during the reign of the New Republic. Before the temple fell, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker sensed the dark side building within his nephew Ben Solo and feared for the boy's future. One night, Skywalker entered Solo's room and looked into Solo's mind as he slept. Skywalker saw that the dark side had already corrupted him. Skywalker instinctively ignited his lightsaber before quickly realizing his error, but it was too late: Solo awakened and, believing his uncle was about to murder him, lashed out with the Force. Solo telekinetically collapsed his hut which trapped Skywalker under the debris, then he stood outside the temple before a lightning storm erupted and razed the structure. All of the students who were present died when the temple was destroyed.
After Solo burned the temple, he fled and joined the First Order under the tutelage of Supreme Leader Snoke, who had been seducing the boy from afar. Solo turned to the dark side and became Kylo Ren after completing the destruction of the Jedi Order. Skywalker, distraught over his failure, abandoned his hope of rebuilding the Jedi Order and went into exile on Ahch-To, the birthplace of the Jedi Order. It was not until 34 ABY that he was rediscovered by Rey, a powerful Force prodigy who tried to convince Skywalker to help the Resistance in the war against the First Order. Skywalker was reluctant but chose to briefly rejoin the conflict and confront his nephew, sacrificing himself in the process.
- 1 Prelude
- 2 The temple falls
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
Prelude[edit | edit source]
- "The Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned."
- ―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker
After the end of the Galactic Civil War, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker was the last Jedi left in the galaxy. His Jedi Master, Yoda, had died after securing his promise to pass on what he had learned. With help from the likes of Lieutenant Shara Bey of the Rebel Alliance and the explorer Lor San Tekka, Skywalker sought out ancient relics and texts of the Jedi Order to better understand their history and teachings. Skywalker had great hope for the future of the Jedi, believing that if a single Jedi could help bring back balance to the Force, then a restored Jedi Order could maintain that peace and prevent the dark side of the Force from regaining its hold on the galaxy.
As the war came to a close, Senator Leia Organa of the New Republic and General Han Solo welcomed a son, Ben Solo. Organa sensed the capacity for both light and darkness within her son. After many years, she also sensed the influence of Snoke, the Supreme Leader of the shadowy First Order that had arisen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire. Hoping to curb Snoke's dark side influence, Organa asked Skywalker, her brother, to train Solo as a Jedi.
With his nephew and a handful of other disciples, Skywalker established a Jedi temple to train his students in the ways of the Jedi. Throughout Solo's training, Skywalker sensed the growing darkness within his nephew, but he believed that he could contain it and keep Solo on the path of the light. Solo believed that as his power grew, Skywalker sensed and feared it. Mysterious voices were grooming Solo towards the dark side.
The temple falls[edit | edit source]
A terrible misunderstanding[edit | edit source]
- "I saw darkness. I'd sensed it building in him. I'd seen it in moments during his training. But then I looked inside, and it was beyond what I ever imagined. Snoke had already turned his heart. He would bring destruction, and pain, and death, and the end of everything I love because of what he would become. And for the briefest moment of pure instinct, I thought I could stop it. It passed like a fleeting shadow. And I was left with shame... and with consequence. And the last thing I saw were the eyes of a frightened boy whose master had failed him."
- ―Luke Skywalker, to Rey
One night, Skywalker went to Solo's hut to confront his nephew's growing darkness. Skywalker found Solo asleep and used the Force to look into Solo's mind; he saw even greater darkness than he had feared, and that Snoke's machinations had already turned his nephew's heart. Skywalker saw that Solo would wield a crackling red lightsaber as he brought death and destruction to everything Skywalker loved. Skywalker instinctively ignited his lightsaber to prevent what he had seen by killing Solo, but the moment passed quickly into shame for thinking of killing his nephew. Solo awakened to his uncle standing over him with an ignited blade. He knew what Skywalker had seen in his mind and thought Skywalker had come into his room to murder him in his sleep. Solo ignited his own lightsaber and attempted to kill Skywalker first. As they locked blades, Solo used the Force to bring the roof of his room collapsing down upon Skywalker.
Enemy in the ranks[edit | edit source]
- "Why? Why? Why did you do it?"
- ―Ben Solo
With Skywalker trapped under the rubble and believed dead, Solo left the ruins of his room and raged in anger and confusion over why his uncle had seemingly attacked him. The temple had a clear night sky above it when Solo pointed his ignited lightsaber at the temple and screamed for answers. His pupils constricted as his eyes clouded with red, and matching red storm clouds appeared above the temple. When he saw them, the clouds erupted with lightning that exploded the temple and set it ablaze. The temple collapsed and burned to the ground when Solo set it on fire.
Solo was knocked off his feet by the initial explosion and rose to see the scattered bodies of dead students. He had killed them when he lashed out and destroyed the temple. When he attempted to run into the burning temple, he was again knocked down by another explosion. He watched the temple burn and said he hadn't wanted this. A familiar disembodied voice that often communicated with Solo told him that he had not chosen this; Skywalker had.
Skywalker and Solo each believed the other had betrayed them. Skywalker had reacted to his nephew's darkness with a momentary thought of killing him; Solo thought his uncle had proved his worst fears about his family were true. Solo snapped, attacked Skywalker, and burned his temple, destroying both the temple and the students of the Jedi Order.
Discovering the destruction[edit | edit source]
Jedi students Hennix, Tai, and Voe initially survived the temple's destruction because they were away for an off-world mission. They returned to discover the temple had collapsed in flames, all their fellow students besides Solo were dead, and they couldn't sense any other presence except for Solo, who was watching the temple burn. Solo told them that Master Skywalker had tried to murder him in his sleep and now was dead. When Voe expressed skepticism, Solo replied that he was stronger in the Force than the other three Jedi combined and stronger than Skywalker. Tai was unable to defuse the situation, and Hennix and Voe drew their lightsabers to stop Solo from leaving. The three Jedi failed to take down Solo and he used the Force to shower them with debris which wounded Hennix. While Tai and Voe attended to Hennix, Solo fled aboard his personal ship Grimtaash. The other Jedi pursued Solo in their starship Verity but Solo fired a precise shot that disabled their ship's main engines. The three decided to pursue Solo for answers to the destruction. Hennix was bewildered, Tai didn't believe Solo could have betrayed or killed anyone, and Voe wanted to bring Solo to justice for the murders of Master Skywalker and the other Jedi.
Luke Skywalker's despair[edit | edit source]
When Skywalker regained consciousness, he saw the temple was burning down, many of his students' corpses littered the grounds, and other students were missing. Skywalker, overcome with despair and shame with only his faithful astromech droid R2-D2 by his side, watched as his Jedi temple and the future of the Jedi Order collapsed into flames. Skywalker mistakenly believed that Solo had slaughtered students who would not turn to the dark side as Solo had, and that the students missing from the ruins had agreed to join Solo.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Ben Solo's journey to the dark side[edit | edit source]
- "Wait... aren't you one of Skywalker's students? At that temple he built?"
"Not anymore. And the temple's gone. Burned. I destroyed it. That's why the other students came after me. To kill me."
- ―"Ren" and Ben Solo
After the destruction of the temple and deaths of the other students, Solo felt he was misunderstood and being pushed away. He fled and traveled to a space station to meet Snoke, who embraced him. Snoke doubted Skywalker was dead and asked Solo what he planned to do next now that he was no longer under Skywalker's influence. Solo decided to seek out the Knights of Ren, a shadowy group of dark siders led by the enigmatic "Ren" who subscribed to an ideology based on his lightsaber, the Ren. Tai, Voe, and Hennix tracked Solo to Elphrona where he had first met and been invited to learn from the Knights as a child. In their duel, Solo attempted to kill Voe and inadvertently killed Hennix. Solo left Tai and Voe behind to meet the Knights of Ren.
Solo told the Knights of Ren how he wanted to join them, said he had destroyed Skywalker's temple, and described Hennix's death. They were unimpressed with the story, but Ren said Solo was strong in the "shadow" and Snoke had vouched for him. Solo still failed to impress on the Minemoon of Mimban, but when Ren killed Tai, Solo gave in to the dark side of the Force. His turn was sensed by Snoke, Leia, Rey, and Darth Sidious as he dueled and killed Ren, then used the Ren lightsaber to kill Voe. With her murder and Solo's turn, none of Skywalker's students survived Solo's destruction of his Jedi Order. The Knights then accepted Solo as the new Master of the Knights of Ren, the former Jedi bled his kyber crystal, and he took on the name Kylo Ren.
Kylo Ren joined the First Order under the tutelage of Supreme Leader Snoke. Ren's betrayal and destruction of Skywalker's Jedi students earned him the moniker of "Jedi Killer" amongst the First Order's ranks, though it was many years until the wider galaxy learned about what happened to the temple. Solo had wiped out the fledgling Jedi Order, leaving only Skywalker, but Snoke believed that Skywalker also had to be destroyed to prevent the rise of new Jedi.
Fall and return of the Jedi[edit | edit source]
- "The rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi."
- ―Luke Skywalker, to Kylo Ren
Skywalker blamed himself instead of Snoke for Solo's fall to the dark side. His failures were partially engineered by the secretly resurrected Darth Sidious, who had created Snoke and manipulated him and Solo without their knowledge. Skywalker felt that he had failed to restore the Jedi Order, to protect his own students, and to save his own family from their dark legacy. He believed the missing students had left with Solo and joined him in turning to the dark side, unaware that all except Solo were dead. Skywalker went into exile on Ahch-To, the birthplace of the Jedi Order and the home of the first Jedi Temple, where he intended to one day die. He intended to end the Jedi religion, which he believed had only a legacy of hubris and destruction in the galaxy—in his mind, it was the Jedi that allowed Darth Sidious to create the Galactic Empire and seduce his father, Anakin Skywalker, to the dark side.
There were many rumors and stories about where Skywalker had fled to, but those closest to him believed that he went looking for the first Jedi temple. The First Order and the Resistance, led by General Organa, both searched for Skywalker and sought out San Tekka, who had part of a map to Ahch-To. The map was pieced together by the Resistance and given to Rey, a powerful Force prodigy, who used it to find Skywalker on Ahch-To. She tried for some time to convince Skywalker that the return of the Jedi was critical if the Resistance was to prevail in its war against the First Order, but he was too guilt-stricken. It was not until the spectral intervention of Yoda that Skywalker was shaken from his guilt and put his faith in Rey as the future of the Jedi. During the Battle of Crait, he projected his appearance into the conflict to confront Kylo, allowing the Resistance to escape from certain destruction. The effort he expended proved fatal and Skywalker passed away into the Force on Ahch-To, but, through his actions, the legend of Skywalker and the hope of the Jedi and the Resistance spread across the galaxy.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Origin and development[edit | edit source]
- "Ultimately, the one who lies is Luke, in the very first flashback, where he omits the fact that he had a lightsaber in his hand. Kylo is basically telling the truth about his perception of that moment."
- ―Rian Johnson
The destruction of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Temple was referenced in the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Although the event took place in the film's backstory, its aftermath was briefly seen in Rey's vision. The event's development was featured in the 2017 film Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, during Luke Skywalker's and Kylo Ren's flashback sequences. The destruction itself was first depicted in The Rise of Kylo Ren 1.
Though included in the finished version of the film, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson made a late decision to include the three flashbacks which showed the destruction of Skywalker's Jedi temple, as they were not present in the film's script before shooting began. Taking inspiration from the 1950 film Rashōmon, Johnson decided to divide the sequence in three parts from different points of view, instead of just doing a long flashback as he wanted something harder to influence Rey's journey in the story.
Prior to crafting The Rise of Kylo Ren, Lucasfilm developed a framework through a conversation with J.J. Abrams. Writer Charles Soule and artist Will Sliney used this framework to develop the story of Solo's turn to the dark side. Soule and Sliney knew the destruction of the Jedi temple was a fixed point in the timeline prior to Ren's introduction on Jakku in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Soule chose to omit dialogue in some panels to put the focus on Sliney's art and Solo's internal struggle.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- "Did he tell you what happened? The night I destroyed his temple, did he tell you why?"
- ―Kylo Ren, to Rey
Ben Solo has been consistently identified as the character responsible for destroying the students of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Order or both the Jedi Order and the Jedi temple. No other characters claimed responsibility or received blame for the destruction in-universe, and out-of-universe sources identified him as the primary character responsible for the destruction. Several sources specify that Solo burned the temple. In the first depiction of the event, the fire was sparked with a lightning strike from red storm clouds.
Contradictions[edit | edit source]
Prior to Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, sources did not mention that any of Skywalker's students survived the destruction. Princess Leia: Royal Rebel stated Leia's son "killed all the apprentices" before taking the name Kylo Ren. Skywalker said in The Last Jedi that a "handful of [his] students" left with Ren after he "slaughtered the rest." The Secrets of the Jedi added that Ren had "slaughtered any students who refused to follow him to the dark side." The Rise of Kylo Ren instead showed that Skywalker was mistaken, as three students who weren't present for the destruction pursued Solo in the aftermath, and all died by the end; none turned to the dark side with him.
Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded stated that the Knights of Ren were involved in the temple's destruction, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary said Ren "led its destruction," implying that at least one other individual worked with him to destroy it. These were the only sources in- or out-of-universe that mentioned anyone besides Ren having a role in the destruction. However, The Rise of Kylo Ren 1 didn't explicitly feature the Knights of Ren during the destruction or show that any other individual was involved before Solo fled from Tai, Hennix, and Voe.
Two sources stated that Ren's lightsaber skills prevented the Jedi Order's return and he annihilated Skywalker's students with his "talent in combat." The Rise of Kylo Ren 1 depicted Solo wielding his lightsaber as he raged at the temple, but he did not use it in combat.
Authorial intent[edit | edit source]
Matt Martin of the Lucasfilm Story Group has responded several times to questions on Twitter about this event. According to Martin, statements in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary that Ben Solo set fire to and destroyed Skywalker's temple did not contradict The Rise of Kylo Ren #1 as some readers believed. Martin noted that the series had not yet concluded at the time, but he did not know where people's misinterpretation of the comic came from. He compared Solo's reaction afterward to Anakin Skywalker's reaction after the death of Mace Windu in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
Martin's personal take is that Rey Skywalker's awakening to the Force occurred in response to "Ben's destruction of the temple and Jedi." He said if there was any ambiguity about the event, he could not change that through a tweet, but that "the movie" said Solo destroyed the temple. Martin disagreed with a claim that the "comics [made] it clear that Ben did not destroy the temple," and responded to the user's theory about Snoke or Palpatine as "one way to read it." Regarding whether someone else destroyed the temple or Solo unconsciously did so in his rage, Martin replied, "The latter is more my read on it."
Martin has said that he would "really rather not completely explain things like this" and suggested asking the writer. When asked if there was "any chance" he would answer a question about the lightning strike shown in The Rise of Kylo Ren, Soule provided a response that did not address the actual question.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Mentioned only)
Sources[edit | edit source]
Notes and references[edit | edit source]