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This great answer to this question makes me want to understand why, from a plot perspective, The Force Awakens focused on a map to Luke Skywalker and not the first Jedi Temple.

As I understand, there is a lot of plot suggestion that Luke and the first Jedi Temple are at the same location.

It seems to me that it would have been far better from a plot perspective if this "map to Luke Skywalker" was described in movie as the map to the Jedi Temple instead.

  • It would explain more compellingly why the First Order/Kylo want the map. It includes all the reasons they have in the movie (going after Luke) but includes a more compelling, at least to me, of wiping out all traces of Jedi from the galaxy
  • It explains better why the Resistance cares about the map. It still is to me a weak reasoning, but again including the first Jedi Temple into something they want to find makes more sense than a person who ran away
  • It explains why the map might exist in the first place (why is there a map of Luke's location that both sides have access to part of? what?)

Is there a compelling plot reason for TFA to have focused the map so much on Luke and not the Jedi Temple?

I understand they might be trying to build some suspense for future movies and/or name-drop Luke often, but it seems far more compelling to a plot perspective to just get rid of that and focus it on the Jedi Temple.

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3  
The answer you link to states (to my agreement) that the Force Awakens DID focus on a map to the first Jedi Temple, NOT to Luke Skywalker. It was believed that Luke had gone to the first temple, so they were looking for it in order to find Luke. The people who describe it as a map to Luke (starting with Pom) don't understand that it's actually a map to where Luke is BELIEVED to be. – WizardKnight Jan 6 at 18:55

TL;DR: No compelling reason I can think of, since the proposed approach strongly contradicts some main plot drivers story-wise; AND the map points to the Temple already (not to Luke - see #3 below) fact-wise.

Actually, sorry but your ideas contradict what the plot says, sorry:

It would explain more compellingly why the First Order/Kylo want the map. It includes all the reasons they have in the movie (going after Luke) but includes a more compelling, at least to me, of wiping out all traces of Jedi from the galaxy

Snoke very explicitly said he cares very much about (Resistance NOT) finding Skywalker. In the novelization, he orders the immediate destruction of Resistance base on D'Qar, for one and only reason: to prevent them from having enough time to send the ship to find Skywalker.

And there would be no threat of Skywalker’s return today. {{about Vader's failure}}

and from WGA script:

> SNOKE (V.O.)
The droid will soon be delivered to the Resistance...
SNOKE
... Leading them to the last Jedi.
If Skywalker returns, the new Jedi will rise.

and

Snoke cut him off. “We cannot wait. Not even for hours. Hours that may permit as little as one ship to depart with the information that will allow them to find Skywalker. That would be one ship too many. The more time we give them, the more likely the chance, however slight, that they will find Skywalker and convince him to return to challenge our power. As soon as the weapon is fully charged, I want the entire Ileenium system destroyed.”

We don't yetr know quite why Snoke is so concentrated on Luke, other than he's the last Jedi Snoke knows of.

However, I suspect that further films will reveal that and it would be meaningful to the plot.

It explains better why the Resistance cares about the map. It still is to me a weak reasoning, but again including the first Jedi Temple into something they want to find makes more sense than a person who ran away

Resistance - specifically, Leia - very explicitly is looking for Luke.

Opening crawl:

With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother Luke and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.

Tekka explicitly talks about "Without the Jedi, there is no balance to teh Force" about finding Luke

And the ending of the script explicitly talks about Rey coming to Luke as "Galaxy's only hope"

IT IS LUKE SKYWALKER.
Older now, white hair, bearded. He looks at Rey. A kindness
in his eyes, but there's something tortured, too. He doesn't
need to ask her who she is, or what she is doing here. His
look says it all.
In response, Rey pulls something from the pack.
LUKE'S LIGHTSABER.
And she holds it out to him. An offer. A plea. The galaxy's
only hope.

It explains why the map might exist in the first place (why is there a map of Luke's location that both sides have access to part of? what?)

That's already the case and explained via WoG in an answer - since R2-D2 downloaded the map from Death Star computer (what are they, running a torrent site? Why was the map there???) 30 years ago, well before Luke went there into exile.

However, the phrasing about "Map for Finding Skywalker" - while inaccurate in-universe - serves the main plot lines much better

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1  
Hmm. I agree with what you are saying... maybe I'm asking an XY quesiton here. My main "question" may be why they made such a crappy plot when it fairly trivially could have been so much better? :) – enderland Jan 6 at 18:13
1  
@enderland - because they tried to copy ANH plot but gave the task to someone clearly inadequate for the job (Foster would have been better. Zahn would have been ideal) – DVK-in-exile Jan 6 at 19:09
    
"what are they, running a torrent site? Why was the map there???" Speculation: they wanted to blow up that planet at some point? Vader was researching it for a similar motive? – jpmc26 Jan 7 at 2:47

I would imagine that if The Force Awakens had focused more on a map that leads to the first Jedi Temple, many more people would be confused as to why they're looking for that and not for Luke Skywalker.

You're right, it would have been better to specify that what they were looking for was a map to the Jedi Temple which was inherently a way to find Luke Skywalker, but ultimately they were one and the same.

Luke was the important part of it for both sides, so for them it was a map to Luke.

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Because the interested parties weren't looking for the Jedi Temple, they're looking for Luke.

From the opening crawl:

With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother, Luke, and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.

From the novelization:

“We’re still at war with First Order,” Leia pointed out. “A war that won’t end until either it or the Resistance is destroyed. The next time, without Luke, we won’t stand a chance.”

Snoke wants to destroy both the Resistance and the Jedi. Luke is the only Jedi left, to our knowledge:

“There is no need for concern.” Despite the Supreme Leader’s cautioning, Ren’s assurance remained unbounded. “Together we will destroy the Resistance— and the last Jedi.”

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There's one main difference between the 2.

If they all look for a map to the temple, the temple is a Chekov's Gun - the temple must play a role further on in the plot, i.e. in the sequel, or there's something missing from the plot.

If instead they search for Luke, they have an easier time ignoring the temple in the sequel.

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Certainly their reason could be Luke, but I think it could have been stated at least once "It's a map that Luke was last known to have been following in his search for the first Jedi temple" without messing that up. – Random832 Jan 6 at 22:24
    
@Random832 Still any further emphasis on the temple will raise the expectation of the audience that the temple is more relevant. The classic Chekov's gun is merely a gun that hangs on a wall as a prop, and therefore has to be fired in the next act. Not saying the temple won't play a role, but with the plot the way it is, they have the option to keep that role extremely small without disappointing the audience. If instead both sides had been looking for the temple during all of the movie, they would have to have a fight over the temple soon, which would probably end with the temple blowing up. – Peter Jan 6 at 22:30

Thank you! The problem here lies with the assumption the audience makes that Luke is the one who made the map in the first place.

I kept wondering why Luke would go into hiding only to leave some weird scattered map to find him. Did he want to be found? Has he setup some weird scavenger hunt?

Only later did I come to the conclusion that no, Luke was known to be looking for this temple and if he was still alive he might be there. The map had a separate origin and also pointed to the temple. So if you get the map you might find where Luke is. The map is thus just an academic document about locations of Jedi temple ruins that the Emperor had and Luke was investigating (which is why R2 had Luke's part of it).

The only remaining gripe is that the "First Jedi Temple" is a single location and thus would be represented by one or the other "halves" of this map data. At the end the map that is projected shows like, a trail, to Luke's location, which is silly given that it seems that hyperspace travel is more or less point-to-point. You'd need only one "half" to find the specific point it seems.

The idea of a "map" which must be whole to identify the location of a single point though, is silly. Maybe it could have been "we have the X and Y coordinates, but we must have the Z coordinate to identify the system Luke is in! Otherwise we'd have to search millions of systems!" It could then be dramatically satisfying to have Rey see that number briefly flash on a screen before it explodes and then marvel at her ability later to use her "force-memory" to recall this long weird number. Alternatively the plot could be a "collection" plot where they search for each number or something.

I'm just making this up as I go though.

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