One of the biggest unanswered questions in the latest Star Wars saga is why Luke Skywalker abandoned his friends and family to go into hiding sometime before the events of The Force Awakens. Han Solo suggests that it has something to do with searching for the first Jedi Temple, but also says he thinks Luke feels responsible for Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo’s destruction of the new Jedi Order that Luke was building.
We likely won’t know the true reason until The Last Jedi releases later this year, but a passage in the latest issue of Marvel’s Darth Vader comic series may offer a clue as to why Luke didn’t return to fight the First Order when the need was greatest.
As reported by ComicBook.com, Darth Vader #2 includes a panel where Vader explains why the Jedi who survived the Great Jedi Purge (otherwise known as Order 66) didn’t come to the aid of those who were in trouble. According to the Sith Lord, it’s because of something called the Barash Vow.
“Any Jedi pursuing Barash has sworn to refrain from activities related to the order. Complete disengagement from anything but the Force. It is a type of penance,” Vader says in the comic. “While a Barash-take would have felt the Purge, they would have not have allowed themselves to respond to it, or take action of any kind.”
Vader’s description suggests that the Barash Vow is some sort of ultimate test of will that Jedi put themselves through in extreme situations. If we’re to believe that Luke holds himself responsible for his nephew’s betrayal, which not only resulted in him turning to the Dark Side, but the deaths of several Padawans as well, it would be understandable if he undertook the Barash Vow as penance for his failure.
Whether we’ll hear the Barash Vow mentioned by name in Star Wars: The Last Jedi or if it will just be something that goes unspoken, the film’s marketing so far makes it clear that the elder Jedi will be dealing with some deep-rooted issues, including a belief that the Jedi must end (which could have multiple meanings). Whatever the case, we’ll find out when The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15.