At the end of The Last Jedi, as Kylo Ren realizes he has been tricked by Luke Skywalker on Crait, Luke tells him, “see you around, kid,” before disappearing.
We have yet to see what Luke really meant by that, if anything, but a recent comic has made it clear that Kylo is haunted by his defeat and by Luke’s words. To commemorate his 100th Star Wars comic issue, author Charles Soule used Star Wars #25 as a chance to tell a series of short stories continuing some of his previous comics: Obi Wan & Anakin, Poe Dameron, Darth Vader, and The Rise of Kylo Ren. In a cool feature, the original artists for each of those series returned for the respective short stories here too.
The story about Kylo Ren picks up sometime after The Last Jedi, with Ren (accompanied by Generals Pryde and Hux) returning to Crait. On the planet’s surface, where his duel with Skywalker took place, Ren battles against the air, with puzzled stormtroopers looking on. Next, Ren goes with the Knights of Ren to Elphrona, to the old Jedi Outpost, looking for a ghost. Next up is Ossus (not named here, but revealed elsewhere), the location of Luke’s Jedi Temple. It’s long deserted, but Kylo screams into the air, saying that he knows Luke is watching him and demanding he show himself. Nothing happens, and Ren orders Hux to launch an orbital bombardment, destroying the old Temple. Ren declines to watch, however, saying that there’s nothing there.
I really enjoyed this short story for several reasons. First, it picks up nicely on Luke’s line to Kylo in The Last Jedi. Even though we don’t see Luke showing up to Kylo, we see that his old apprentice can’t get those words out of his head. It shows how much he’s haunted by them, which is precisely the whole point of Luke’s statement: “Strike me down and I’ll always be with you. Just like your father.” Kylo is haunted by having killed Han Solo, and he’s haunted by what happened in being humiliated by Luke. He can’t move past these things. And try as he might, he can’t find and destroy this “ghost” that lurks just beyond his grasp.
Second, it’s just great to have a story set in-between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, as we haven’t gotten much at all in this period, particularly with Kylo Ren as Supreme Leader. So a story like this is always welcome.
Third, I like how Kylo is re-visiting some key locations between him and Luke. There’s Crait, the site of their showdown. There’s Elphrona, the site of Luke’s duel with the Knights of Ren while his apprentice, Ben, watched (that happens in The Rise of Kylo Ren comic). And then there’s Ossus, the site of Luke’s Temple that was seen in the sequel trilogy, in The Book of Boba Fett, and in The Rise of Kylo Ren comic. This one short story re-visits all of the locations where we’ve actually seen Luke and Ben together, which makes it more impactful.
And fourth, this also reveals an important detail: what happened to Luke’s Jedi Temple. After Ben’s rebellion and Luke’s exile, the Temple was overrun with growth and was run down, but after the Battle of Crait it was destroyed by the First Order, with Ren ordering an orbital bombardment of the location. We don’t actually see this happening, but it’s certainly implied that it does. And that answers a question about what became of the Temple in this period.