The Secret History of Lor San Tekka in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Brandon Rhea
Movies Game of Thrones
Movies Game of Thrones Star Wars

This Sunday, Game of Thrones will air the second episode of its sixth season, titled “Home,” which will feature the debut of Max von Sydow as the human form of the Three-Eyed Raven. Fans are excited to see where this storyline will go. What will Bran Stark learn from the Three-Eyed Raven? What is the true nature of this mysterious being?

Of course, von Sydow is no stranger to mysterious characters recently. Last year, he played the enigmatic character Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Moviegoers will remember him as the old man in the film’s opening scene, when he gave Poe Dameron the partial map to Luke Skywalker and kickstarted the film’s main storyline. Though we saw him hand over the map and ultimately perish at the hands of Kylo Ren, fans were left wondering – just who exactly is Lor San Tekka?

We don’t know too much yet, but supplementary material like Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary has begun to shed light on some of the secret history of Lor San Tekka. Did you know that…

Lor San Tekka was part of the Church of the Force

Lor San Tekka believed in the return of the Jedi and gave Poe Dameron a map to Luke Skywalker - which Tekka paid for with his life.

One of the most intriguing pieces of information from The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary, written by Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive Pablo Hidalgo, was that Tekka was a member of the Church of the Force. This was a group of individuals who believed in the ideals of the Jedi Knights, though they themselves could not use the Force. After the fall of the Jedi, the Church of the Force believed that the Jedi would one day return and that they were essential to the galaxy. As Tekka himself said, “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.”

The beliefs of the Church of the Force were outlawed during the reign of the Galactic Empire. The faith moved underground, where they continued to believe in the return of the Jedi. Though the Empire tried to suppress them, the faith lived on. The village of Tuanul, where Tekka lived on Jakku before it was attacked by the First Order, was a spiritual community full of adherents to the Church of the Force.

In the Star Wars Bookworms podcast, Hidalgo revealed that the Church of the Force was developed by none other than George Lucas himself for the live-action television series that Lucas was developing after the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The concept was never released in any other stories, and the live-action series never got off the ground, but Lucasfilm opted to use it for Tekka’s backstory in The Force Awakens. So even though Lucas is no longer involved in Star Wars, his ideas are still very much influencing the saga.

Lor San Tekka helped Luke Skywalker find Jedi lore

Lor San Tekka was a friend and ally of Luke Skywalker, whom he helped find old Jedi lore that the Empire tried to destroy.

After the Battle of Endor and the death of Emperor Palpatine, Luke Skywalker began looking for forgotten Jedi knowledge, which the Empire tried to suppress, as part of his efforts to rebuild the Jedi Order. He found a friend and ally in Lor San Tekka. According to Princess Leia, there was not a Jedi site in the galaxy that Tekka had not been to, making him the ideal person to help the last Jedi Knight find the lore that could help him train a new generation of Jedi.

One such piece of knowledge he held was a map to Ahch-To, the oceanic world where Skywalker went after Kylo Ren destroyed his new generation of Jedi. It was there that Skywalker went in search of the First Jedi Temple. That map ultimately led Rey to Ahch-To, where she found Skywalker and returned his old lightsaber as a symbol of the hope that the galaxy so desperately needed in the fight against the First Order.

Lor San Tekka was a seasoned explorer

Poe Dameorn meets the Crèche, with whom Lor San Tekka once lived to learn about their culture.

The adventures that Lor San Tekka went on as he explored the galaxy became the stuff of legends. In the novelization of The Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster, Dameron tells Tekka that he grew up hearing stories about Tekka’s adventures. It was honor for Dameron to meet him.

Before Dameron ever found Tekka on Jakku, he was tasked by General Leia with searching for the old explorer so the Resistance could find Ahch-To. In the new comic series Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Dameron and his team, Black Squadron, followed in the footsteps of Tekka’s journeys. One world they visited was home to a spiritual people known as the Crèche, with whom Tekka lived for a number of years in order to learn about them and their ways. That included seeing a massive egg that they protected, one that they believed would hatch and one day help save the galaxy.

We will undoubtedly learn more about Lor San Tekka in the future, including in the Poe Dameron comic, and I for one can’t wait to find out what kinds of adventures he went on before The Force Awakens. What sorts of stories do you want to see told about the character? Tweet me your ideas!

Brandon Rhea is Sr. Manager of Content Production at FANDOM. He's a huge fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and Marvel. He's a Gryffindor whose Patronus is a cat.
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