In 2015, fans couldn't help but notice something missing from the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The focus was on new characters Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). There were also shots of new villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the adorable droid BB-8. As for those craving some nostalgia, there was plenty of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia (Carrie Fisher) to satisfy. But there was someone whose absence was quickly noted and speculated about. Nowhere in any of the trailers was there even a single shot of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) even though he was the main character in the original trilogy.
Upon seeing The Force Awakens Skywalker's absence from the promotional material was quickly explained. He was hardly in the film at all. It's not easy to show people footage and stills of a character when they have no dialogue and a scant few seconds of screen time. Indeed, the plot of the film centered around a piece of map which would lead General Leia to her long lost twin brother Luke. So it wasn't until the final minute or so of the film that young Rey, accompanied by Chewbacca, discovered Luke and offered the Jedi Knight his old lightsaber.
A little over a year later, fans are counting down until they finally hear what Luke has to say after all this time. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled for a December release, and it promises to finally catch everyone up on what happened to Luke after his nephew/student Ben turned to the dark side and became Kylo Ren. J.J. Abrams - who co-wrote and directed The Force Awakens and is an Executive Producer on The Last Jedi - has the highest of praise for Hamill's performance. According to NY Daily News, during a speech given at the Oscar Wilde Awards, Abrams said that he thinks Hamill deserves to win an Oscar for his performance: "I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark."
The Star Wars franchise has some history with the Academy Awards. The original trilogy won some technical awards, most going to the first film. However, in over eight movies there has only been one Oscar nomination for acting - Alec Guinness was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first film - and no Oscar wins in any category since Return of the Jedi. George Lucas, who created the franchise, lobbied very hard for Frank Oz to get a Supporting Actor nomination for the work he did as Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, a plan that ultimately did not work since Oz was manipulating and voicing a puppet.
Even though Hamill has been acting since 1970, he has never been nominated for an Oscar. Most of the awards he has won or been nominated for have been for his extensive voiceover work. After his long and incredible career, maybe it is time for him to finally win this top honor. Whether he deserves it or not is something fans will not be able to consider until December. It's a long wait, but if Abrams is right, it'll be worth it.
Source: NY Daily News
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019