The new Star Wars comic book series about Darth Vader may provide clues about Luke in The Last Jedi. In the comic, Darth Vader comes across a Jedi that survived Order 66. The Jedi, named Kirak Infil’a, has taken something called the “Barash vow.” The vow is described as follows:
“Any Jedi pursuing Barash has sworn to refrain from activities related to the order. Complete disengagement from anything but the force…While a Barash-taker would have felt the purge (i.e., Order 66), they would not have allowed themselves to respond to it, or take action of any kind.”
A vow to isolate yourself and focus on the force certainly fits Luke’s situation, as he has isolated himself from the battle against the First Order seemingly to learn more about the force by finding the First Jedi Temple.
When do Jedi take the Barash Vow? According to the comic, the vow “is a type of penance,” and so it is taken as a form of voluntary self-punishment after committing an error. This was confirmed by Infil’a, who said:
“For my transgressions, I took the Barash Vow…”
Again, this fits Luke’s situation well. He searches for the First Jedi Temple and goes into isolation only after his apprentice, Ben Solo, turns to the dark side and kills all of his other padawans. Leia trusted Luke to keep her son on the light side, but Luke failed her, Ben, and all of his other apprentices. To repent for these sins, he takes the Barash Vow.
However, the Barash isn’t all about self-punishment. It’s also about trying to find wisdom. Infil’a said:
“…I took the Barash Vow, to live alone inside the force, until my true path as a Jedi became clear.”
If we are to believe that Luke took the Barash Vow to gain wisdom, then what exactly does he need clarity on? Why couldn’t Luke have just gone and joined the fight against the First Order after Ben destroyed his new Jedi Order? The reason, I believe, is that Luke is having a crisis of faith with the Jedi Philosophy/Order. While I have outlined this theory in-depth in another article, here are some of the main reasons why Luke might have lost confidence in the Jedi Philosophy/Order:
- Darth Vader emerged directly from the Jedi Order.
- If Luke has talked to the force ghost of his father, then he will likely learn that Anakin turned to the dark side partially because the Jedi forbade him from having an open relationship with the woman he loved and did not provide him any comfort when he believed Padme was going to die in childbirth.
- The Jedi’s lack of compassion in some circumstances continued in the Original Trilogy, as when Luke wanted to leave his training with Yoda early to come to the rescue of his friends, Han and Leia, Yoda advises Luke that: “if you honor what they fight for,” then you should sacrifice them for the greater cause. Yoda makes this same mistake again when he insists that Luke kill his own father rather than try and turn him back to the light side.
- The Jedi used to take force-sensitive children away from their mom and dad and never let them see them again. Additionally, Luke may have followed the advice of Yoda and Obi-Wan’s force ghosts by taking (with permission from Han and Leia) Ben Solo from his parents in an effort to prevent him from falling to the dark side. However, this strategy clearly did not succeed, and there is evidence that it was actually counter-productive.
When Rian Johnson was asked whether fleeing made Luke a coward, he had this to say:
“I didn’t want it to. There has to be a good reason that makes sense to him — and to some degree makes sense to us.”
Therefore, something major must come from Luke taking the Barash Vow that (at least somewhat) legitimizes his decision to isolate himself from the fight against the First Order. Remember, if Luke hadn’t isolated himself, perhaps he could’ve prevented the destruction of the Hosnian System and the murder of his best friend, Han Solo. I believe that this major revelation Luke comes to during his time pursuing Barash is hinted at in The Last Jedi trailer:
“I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.”
Thus, Luke’s “true path as a Jedi” is to develop a new philosophy of the force distinct from the old Jedi philosophy/Order. In this sense, Luke will be the “last Jedi.”
There is one more fact about that Barash Vow that fits with Luke’s situation. According to Infil’a, a Jedi can end their Vow and the isolation that goes with it once their true path becomes clear:
“I declare my Barash complete, for my brothers and sisters are dead, and their murderer stands before me. I know my path, killer, and its end is also yours.”
Since we can safely assume (for practical storytelling reasons) that Luke will rejoin the fight against evil at some point in The Last Jedi, the fact that a Jedi can end their Barash Vow makes it more likely that this concept from the Darth Vader comic will directly translate to The Last Jedi. However, whether Luke will end his Vow and rejoin the fight because of knowledge he gains from the First Jedi Temple, persuasion from Rey (as I theorized in a different article), or a combination of both is still up for debate.
Although it’s possible that the Barash Vow is a concept that will not apply to Luke, I believe that logic suggests that Luke has indeed taken this Vow. For one, the Vow perfectly fits Luke’s situation. Just like Infl’a, who took the Barash, Luke has decided to isolate himself and focus on the force after failing in some key respect. Additionally, The Last Jedi trailer suggests that, like Infil’a, Luke will end his vow and rejoin the fight after learning a great truth (i.e., that the Jedi must end). Furthermore, Luke saying he took the ancient “Barash Vow” is a lot cooler than just saying I went into exile in order to learn more about the force. Including this concept in The Last Jedi will deepen the Star Wars mythos and reward Star Wars super-fans that read the comic books.