The mystery of the stone “beehive huts” on Ahch-To

At the end of The Force Awakens, we got a glimpse of some stone huts on Ahch-To. Rey walks past them after she traverses the hills on the island on her way to find Luke. As it turns out, filming has begun one week ago for scenes in a re-created version of the huts.

The Force Awakens. Lucasfilm/Disney

We only see them for such a brief moment that you might think they were of limited significance. However, it turns out they have tremendous significance. So much so that leaked photos prove, and confirm rumors from back in January, that they have recreated these huts at Pinewood Studios for outdoor shots:

image credit: Latino Review

Furthermore, these huts were re-created yet again in Ceann Sibéal, a peninsula in south west Ireland for a backup location for Ahch-To:

Huts being built on in Ceann Sibéal for Episode VIII (source Making Star Wars)

So we have to wonder…what is the significance of these huts if they were so important that the shots of Ahch-To required them to be physically built twice? The obvious answer is Rey and Luke will spend a lot of time in and around these huts, and they will play some decently big role in Episode VIII. The real question is “why?”

We know from the opening crawl for The Force Awakens that Luke went looking for the first Jedi Temple. Presumably, he found it on the planet Ahch-To, where he has been hiding for all these years. So most people have assumed, reasonably so, that these huts are some how tied to the temple. StarWarsPost has pointed out that if there are any big stunt scenes near the huts, they would want rebuild the structures given the dangers associated with Skellig Michael (large cliffs, slippery rocks etc). Therefore, we might expect some intense training scenes or fights near them in the final movie.

One of the early concept art pieces called “Villain Castle” for the The Force Awakens has a number of small dwellings outside a larger temple/castle structure. These kinds of sketches could have been for a completely different idea, but they evoke some similarities:

image credit: The Art of The Force Awakens (Northcutt)

These beehive huts on Skellig Michael were part of a Catholic Monastery going back to the 6th century a.d. These huts were a retreat for monks, and no one knows for sure when they were built. According to the Art of the Force Awakens, when they saw the huts on Skellig, they realized that it didn’t need any additions. Just put the Millennium Falcon next to it, and you’re done. Star Wars production designer Rick Carter may have been the one that first pointed them out, as he states in the TFA “making of” documentary that comes with the digital version of the movie:

If you image a place where the Jedi Order first could have emerged, that’s what led me to Skellig Island at the end of this movie, because this is a place that emerged in 600 a.d. as a Christian retreat from the world. -Rick Carter from the TFA documentary 

So we have to then consider that these huts could be part of the first Jedi Temple. How could this work exactly? Maybe one of the huts is an entrance to an underground stairway, that takes you to some sort of underground Jedi Temple. This seems like the only logical possibility because we probably would have seen the temple structure otherwise. We had this concept art for The Force Awakens that never got used, and never showed up in any official material:

TFA concept art

Because this was never used, there is only so much we can infer, but to me it looks like it could have been a concept for Rey visiting Luke. Wherever this is, it looks like it occupies way more space than in one of those huts, so could this represent a cave that uses one of the huts as the entrance? Speaking of caves, we did a piece on the rumors of caves in Episode VIII, and there is certainly a strong possibility that these huts lead down to some sort of cave or tunnel associated with the Jedi Temple.

We have such little information. Is there anything else that we can infer? Looking back at the rest of the saga we have to consider the scenes with Luke training on Dagobah with Yoda because Rey will likely be training with Luke in a similar way. One of the most interesting and strange scenes related to this is the tree/cave sequence where Luke gets a vision of Vader. Luke strikes down this visage, only to see himself under the helmet. This was a test for Luke, and a pivotal moment in the saga. Therefore, we might consider that one or more of these huts could be part of a test for Rey. Imagine her going into one of the huts, and encountering a similar vision of Kylo Ren, only to see that he is more deeply connected to Rey through some imagery.

The other thing is thinking back to the saga, when have we ever seen anyone living in huts? Think about that for a minute. Even Yoda had a large home with rooms on Dagobah. Obi Wan, in his seclusion on Tatooine didn’t even live in a hut. So where have we ever seen a hut in Star Wars? Other than the sand-people, there is one place. In the beginning of TFA we saw a bunch of huts in the village “Tuanul” for the Church of the Force:


Given the strong possibility that Lor San Tekka helped Luke find the first Jedi Temple, one has to wonder if there is a connection there. The Church of the Force lives in huts, and rejects modern technology (Lor San Tekka = Lore without Tech) so it’s very possible that these people are basing their lifestyle on the early Jedi that lived on Ahch-To. If so, there might be a chance to hear more about Lor San Tekka, if only briefly? There is definitely a lot of intrigue surrounding San Tekka in the fan community, so let’s hope this happens.

Although that’s all the info we have, that’s where the discussion begins. What do you think these huts will be used for in Episode VIII? Leave your comments below.

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