There is an emerging narrative of the importance of special Force-sensitive trees in the Star Wars galaxy. Let’s take a look at the latest in what we know about these trees, and how they will play into The Last Jedi. Spoilers below, so proceed carefully.
It may seem like the Force-tree is a new thing, but it perhaps goes back to some of George Lucas’ early story plans for the saga.
Recently, reddit user Meaninglesscanon pointed out that the soundtrack for Empire labels the track where Luke enters the “cave” as “The Magic Tree”. It seems like whenever I have heard Lucas talk about this scene, he calls it the “tree”. Filoni is the same way. In a discussion of the Mortis arc, Filoni compares it to the “tree on Dagobah”. It would seem that the “cave” is actually the insides of a tree, as indicated with the roots surrounding Luke. One thing is clear, the reason why this place is “strong with the Force”, as Yoda said, was because this was a Force-sensitive tree. This particular tree was strong with the dark side of the Force, and may have “shielded” Yoda from the Emperor.
Perhaps Filoni and Lucas were motivated by this scene when writing and planning for The Clone Wars. There is a tree in front of the Jedi temple, and its significance in the saga keeps growing. The tree made its first appearance in The Wrong Jedi.
The tree perhaps grew slightly in significance yesterday with a new Forces of Destiny episode The Padawan Path staring Ahsoka. The episode might reveal that a “padawan advancement ceremony” take place under the tree, where padawans get an extension to their braids. The length of the braid indicates the padawans level of advancement, so I’d say that’s pretty fundamental to the Jedi way.
But it was perhaps the Shattered Empire comic that made the most impact. This very same tree was saved by Luke when he attempted to rebuild the Jedi order. In fact, it would seem from a quote from author Greg Rucka that Luke saved the tree “to recover knowledge”. Rucka states that:
“If he’s trying to recover knowledge, you know, it’s like I don’t want to do a holocron […] and I think it was Pablo who said, ‘You know what, you should use the tree from the Jedi Temple, from the Clone Wars cartoon,’ and I was like, ‘Oh that’s a fantastic idea. ―Greg Rucka
So the tree is sort of like a holocron. It somehow has retained the knowledge of the Jedi order. How could it not? If its a Force-sensitive tree hanging out in front of the Jedi Temple for presumably hundreds or maybe even a thousand years, well then I’d say that tree has some pretty important information pumping through its sap. Every padawan was “promoted” in front of that tree. Tons of discussions and ceremonies took place on those grounds. If the tree is Force-sensitive, it probably knows a lot more about what has happened around it.
The thing is, Luke risked a lot to retrieve the fragments of this very tree in the Shattered Empire comics. He retrieved two small branches, or saplings, from this tree to plant. He gave one of them to Shara Bey and took the other. The first one had an impact on Shara’s son, Poe Dameron, when he was growing up. Poe burned the tree and was forced to take care of it for a year by his dad, Kes Dameron. Many before me have wondered if all those months nursing the tree impacted Poe’s development. The second fragment was taken by Luke, but it isn’t clear what Luke did with the other fragment.
Luke may have taken this fragment with him to Ahch-To, and we might see it in The Last Jedi, but that point is speculation. To me it would make sense if Luke would grow the tree, and later try and learn from the the history of the Jedi order.
It would be hard to believe that the tree grew into the trees we have seen in TLJ content, but who knows what happens in a galaxy far far away. The new tree that we’ve seen is huge. You can see that when Luke says the controversial line “It’s time for the Jedi to end”, he was inside of a tree. You can see the knots and bends of the tree when the exposure of the image is enhanced:
So let’s just assume for the moment that the tree fragment from the Jedi temple has grown into this giant tree. It seems hard to believe, but again, we don’t know what a “Magic Tree” is capable of. If Luke kept this tree for knowledge about the Jedi order, then from the Force, Luke could learn from this tree and write this information down. Perhaps he did.
We know that there are eight books inside this (or maybe another) tree. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Luke has spent his time entering the trunk of this tree and transcribing the history of the Jedi order into these books kept inside the tree?
We don’t know for sure, but leaked set photos of an old tree at the top of steps on Ahch-To may be the very same tree where the books are kept. Sure, we don’t know that this tree has anything to do with the saplings that Luke kept, but who knows. Back when we last wrote about these leaks, we knew so very little about this tree. To me, it would be the perfect exterior of this tree scene. Perhaps this particular tree is one that has been on Ahch-To since the early days of the Jedi. We just don’t know.
However, we do know that much on Ahch-To including what looks like the first Jedi Temple goes up in flames in the trailer.
Importantly, the tree might also burn down. While the above image isn’t of the tree burning as far as I know, Making Star Wars released some info earlier that he’s seen a photo of the tree at the top of the steps burning. That is, the tree with the path leading up to it (two images up) was burning. Does this mean that the books are also burned, along with the history of the Jedi?
So the point of all of this is to consider the fact that Luke risked a lot to save this tree and its knowledge from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, but ultimately let it burn. Perhaps this is a metaphor for the fact that Luke says its time for the Jedi to end. In fact, he says that while exiting that tree–the tree where he may have transcribed the history of the Jedi. The burning of this tree has tremendous significance to the end of the Jedi order. Time will tell what exactly this all means, but speculation is half of the fun!