Happy New Year, Star Wars fans! I’m back to contemplate a very intriguing character from The Force Awakens, Lor San Tekka. He has a very brief role, but leaves a significant impression on viewers due to Max Von Sydow’s excellent performance. But who is he exactly? I wrote a speculative piece back before the move came out. Now that we’ve actually seen the movie, we know a little bit more.
Before I begin, how about a bit on the name. We have “Lor”, which is kind of like “Lore”, or legend and mythology. Next we have “San”, which means “without”. Finally, we have “Tekka”, which may have some translations, but to me sounds like “Tech”, short for technology. So his name is kind of like:
Lor San Tekka = Lore Without Technology
We know a little bit from the Visual Dictionary that Lor San Tekka was a follower of the Church of the Force, and who settled on Jakku. He is not a Force-sensitive, but he believes in the ideals of the Jedi. The VD says he lives simply and travels lightly, carrying only a few artifacts like the necklace, which is consistent with the theory above about his name.
We have to ask what are the odds of the guy that keeps the map to Luke Skywalker being on the same planet that Rey is on? Of all the countless planets in the outer rim, why would he be settled in a village, just a few sand dunes away from the place where Rey lives? Hard to believe this is just coincidence. Maybe there is something more to San Tekka. Could he in fact be sent to Jakku by Luke to watch over Rey, much like Obi Wan Kenobi watched over Luke? How deep of a connection to Luke and Leia is there, and does this further inform us about Rey’s backstory as well?
First off, from the opening crawl, we find out about a
…secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts.
So we know that San Tekka is an old ally of Leia, possibly going back to the days of the Rebellion. San Tekka does say, with a twinkle in his eye, that Leia will always be royalty to him, so he seems to remember the days when she went by Princess. In fact, from the Star Wars Databank, we have the following new info:
A legendary traveler and explorer, Lor San Tekka is a longtime ally of the New Republic and the Resistance. After the Battle of Endor, San Tekka helped Luke Skywalker recover secret Jedi lore that the Empire had tried to erase, and Leia Organa hopes the old scout can now help find her brother.
Not only did San Tekka help Leia recover the map to Luke Skywalker, but he also earlier helped Luke Skywalker recover some old Jedi lore, possibly old holocrons that had been hidden by the Empire. To me, this is really interesting because it is said that Luke went to find the first Jedi Temple, presumably the structures built on Skellig Michael that are seen at the end of TFA, and presumably San Tekka helped Luke find these temples. What sort of other secrets did he help uncover? Hopefully we will see more of them in Episode VIII.
Clearly there is a deep connection between Lor San Tekka and the Skywalker/Solo family. He seems to know that Kylo Ren was once Ben Solo when he says “Something far worse has happened to you.”, and Kylo says “You know what I’ve come for”, suggsting Kylo has a past with him. In the novelization, Kylo also calls him a “soldier of fortune.”
How far back are his connections to Leia, Luke, and the Rebellion? The question is, will we see him in Rogue One? One potentially important line from the TFA novelization sheds some light on this:
“Tekka didn’t need quadnocs. He had already identified the incoming ships by the sound they made as they finished their descent.”
“Quadnocs” are basically like binoculars, so San Tekka was so experienced with these Stormtrooper transports that he could hear them and recognize them. So could it be that San Tekka has a past with these types of transports? We got a report long ago that the set pieces for these exact same transports will be reused in Rogue One, as if “in universe” the same transports are used by the early Empire.
My money is currently on Mads Mikkelsen, who’s been cast in Rogue One, as playing a young Lor San Tekka. The ages work out perfectly because he’s 50 years old, and Von Sydow is 86, and the movies Rogue One and TFA take place around 39 years apart. Mads is 6 feet tall, Von Sydow is 6 foot 4 inches. Mads is Danish, and Von Sydow is Swedish, which could lead to similar enough accents to most audiences. Here’s an image I threw together to show their resemblance:
I’m definitely on board for San Tekka being in Rogue One. He’s too cool of a character to not explore further. Having the character in an earlier chapter would explain why he is an “old ally” and add further connective tissue to the Star Wars saga. It also explains why the picked such an accomplished actor to play him even though it was for a 3 minute scene. We also have confirmation from Mads that he will be playing a good guy:
It is very important role, as much I can say. No, my character is actually not a bad guy, and then I can not say more.
Some fans have also pointed out the resemblance between Rogue One actor Ben Mendelsohn and Max Von Sydow, suggesting the possibility that Mendelsohn will play a young version of San Tekka in Rogue One:
The ages would work out nicely as well. Mendelsohn is Australian, but I’m willing to bet he can do a decent accent to match Von Sydow. Mendelsohn is a little shorter, but it should work out too. I’d be cool with either situation.
Could it be, that it is in fact Lor San Tekka that hands over the Death Star plans to Princess Leia? This would sort of put him in a critical role at the beginning of the Original Trilogy as well as the Sequel Trilogy. Pretty cool if it all works out.