The question of why Lor San Tekka was on Jakku is an important one, as it might provide clues about Rey’s history. Since San Tekka was an ally of Luke Skywalker, perhaps Luke sent him to Jakku to watch over Rey, much like Obi-Wan watched over Luke on Tatooine. If this is true, then that would imply that either Luke was the person who left Rey on Jakku, or that he at least knew she was there. However, I believe Lor San Tekka was not sent to Jakku by Luke to watch over Rey, but was there for a different purpose altogether.
Where Did Lor San Tekka Find the Map to Luke Skywalker?
Answering this question will help us determine why San Tekka was on Jakku. If he already had the piece of the map to Luke before he arrived on Jakku, then that would suggest his primary mission on Jakku may have been to watch over Rey. On the other hand, if San Tekka went to Jakku in order to find the map, then his presence on Jakku may have had nothing to do with Rey and their presence on the same planet might have been completely coincidental. I believe that the evidence suggests that San Tekka did not have the map before he arrived on Jakku, and that he specifically found the map on Jakku.
Although the official Star Wars databank says that “following decades of adventure, Lor San Tekka retired to live simply on Jakku”, I don’t buy that he stopped working for the Jedi cause. In his discussion with Poe in the beginning of The Force Awakens, San Tekka says:
“I’ve traveled too far, seen too much, to ignore the despair in the galaxy. Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the force.”
And in The Force Awakens novelization, San Tekka tells Poe:
“These days I can only do so much. Would that I could do so much more…And there is so much more that needs to be done. But…this will begin to make things right.”
These are the words of someone who is still passionate for a cause and actively fighting for it; not someone who is relaxing and enjoying the desert spas on Jakku. Therefore, I do believe Lor San Tekka is on Jakku for a reason.
Though it’s certainly possible that Lor San Tekka either found the map to Luke Skywalker somewhere else in the galaxy or that Luke gave San Tekka the map in case the galaxy needed to find him again, I believe, instead, that he found the map on Jakku. In the final paragraph of the opening crawl of The Force Awakens, we get a hint that San Tekka has only recently discovered the map:
The crawl doesn’t say that after a long search Leia has finally found Lor San Tekka, who knows where Luke has gone, but that San Tekka has “discovered” a clue about Luke’s whereabouts. “Discovered” implies that San Tekka figured this out on his own without being told by Luke. Moreover, the crawl suggests that this clue was found specifically on Jakku, as the “where” of the discovery is “Jakku.”
Additionally, there is more evidence of this from Kylo Ren’s discussion with San Tekka:
“The map to Skywalker. We know you’ve found it. And now you’re going to give it to the First Order.”
Again, Kylo says that San Tekka “found” that map, not that he “had” the map. Although it’s possible that San Tekka went off-planet to find the map, given his despair with the state of the galaxy, I suspect he alerted Leia about his discovery without delay and wouldn’t have taken the time to travel back to Jakku from a foreign planet. Furthermore, San Tekka staying on Jakku would be consistent with the official Star Wars databank entry that says he “retired” there.
How Did Lor San Tekka Find the Map to Luke on Jakku?
What’s so special about Jakku? How was Lor San Tekka able to find the map to Luke on Jakku? The answer, I believe, comes from Chuck Wendig’s novel Aftermath: Empire’s End.
In this canon novel, we learn that Emperor Palpatine built an “observatory” on Jakku as part of his Contingency Plan should he be killed. In this observatory on Jakku are a group of computer systems, or “ancient computational mechanisms,” that are building a map:
“For decades, these computers have been plotting a journey. Outside the known galaxy is an unexplored infinity, Palpatine explained, one closed off by a labyrinth of solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes, gravity wells, and things far stranger. Any who tried to conquer the maze did not survive…The computers here have long been searching for a way through the storms and the black spaces. Slowly, surely, the have been putting together a map: a journey into chaos.”
So, these computers were charting a map of the unknown regions of space. Is Ahch-To, where Luke has been in exile, in the unknown regions? I believe it is! In The Force Awakens, C-3PO says that the portion of the map provided by Lor San Tekka:
“Matches no charted system on record.”
Since most of the galaxy is charted except the unknown regions, it is likely that Ahch-To, where Luke is located, is in the unknown regions.
Moreover, the fact that the computers creating this map of the unknown regions were “ancient” also fits with the map Lor San Tekka has. According to The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, the storage unit that San Tekka keeps the map on is “antiquated”:
Therefore, perhaps somehow Lor San Tekka was able to extract data from the remains of the Jakku Observatory and use that data to create a piece of the map to Luke Skywalker.
Conclusion: Was Lor San Tekka Sent by Luke to Watch Over Rey?
While it’s possible that Lor San Tekka had a dual mission on Jakku (to find the map and watch over Rey), I suspect that he was only there to try and find the map to Luke. We haven’t gotten any indication from canon that Rey knew Lor San Tekka or vice-versa, and therefore I think them both being on the same planet was coincidental or simply the will of the force. Though the odds may be long, the force works in mysterious ways. Perhaps the force wanted Rey to get involved in the galactic struggle for good and evil, and so manipulated events so that she would be in the right place at the right time to receive the call to adventure. A similar “coincidental” occurrence happened in the Phantom Menace, when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan just happened to end up on Tatooine, where the supposed “chosen one” resided.
If Lor San Tekka was not on Jakku to watch over Rey, as I’ve argued, then that provides evidence against the theory that Luke was the one who left Rey on Jakku. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine Luke leaving Rey in the care of someone as vile as Unkar Plutt!