There are a lot of crazy theories as to why Luke is missing from the Force Awakens marketing, especially after he wasn’t on either the poster or final trailer.
I really wasn’t going to even address the craziness of the Luke freak outs after the poster and trailer hit without him, but an article hit today on Forbes that basically said Evil Disney isn’t focusing on Luke, Han, and Leia because of money changed my mind. The article claims that because they focused on the original characters it’d be hard for Disney to sell a future Star Wars movie that didn’t feature them. Here’s the reality check for Forbes, The Force Awakens doesn’t feature Luke, Han, or Leia much because it’s no longer their story.
The Force Awakens is really Rey and Finn’s story with Poe more of a supporting character. The “Legacy” characters have smaller roles with Han taking on the “Obi-Wan Mentor” role, especially with Finn, and Leia having an even smaller part. Luke has a presence throughout the movie, but he’s really not seen much in the seventh Star Wars movie.
Luke is seen in both the second teaser and the final trailer. The shot (above) of a cloaked figure putting their robotic hand on R2-D2 is Luke Skywalker. It’s from the middle of the movie when Maz Kanata explains the journey of the Skywalker lightsaber to Rey and Finn and why Luke was so important.
But any looks at his face is hidden from the marketing to preserve the impact of the ending of the movie. You won’t see that until you’re sitting in the theater in December. It’s not because it’s disfigured or anything, they just don’t want you to find old Jedi Luke until the characters in the movie do.
Back in August a Star Wars rumor site leaked an in-costume image of Mark Hamill standing in a 3D capture rig that’s used to make 3D scans for merchandise use. Disney sent out a Cease & Desist to every site posting that image faster than any C&D has ever hit a site before. That’s because you’re not supposed to see that image until you see it in the movie itself.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in some ways Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Maybe if Lucasfilm framed the marketing in that way people wouldn’t be hatching crazy theories about Luke (no, he’s NOT Kylo Ren). But by not telling people that the story deals with a search for the last Jedi, it does sort of make the payoff even better.
When someone tries to tell you Evil Disney is hiding Luke from you to make more money in the future or that he’s really Kylo Ren, don’t pay any attention to them. Luke Skywalker is hidden from the marketing of The Force Awakens to preserve the impact of the story and for no other reason.