Mark Hamill has explained what influenced his decision to return to the Star Wars franchise, more than thirty years after he starred in the original Star Wars film trilogy. Hamill briefly reprised the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, even though Return of the Jedi featured what many believe was a proper conclusion to Luke's story, all the way back in 1983.
Hamill played the heroic Luke in the first three Star Wars films, beginning in 1977. Though Hamill will always be remembered by fans as the "Son of Skywalker", Hamill moved on to other roles and developed a reputation as a successful voice actor, notably as the voice of Batman's most infamous villain, the Joker. Hamill voiced the Joker for over 20 years. In 2014, it was confirmed that Hamill would return to Star Wars in the seventh installment of the franchise, The Force Awakens, alongside other original trilogy cast members Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Hamill discussed his reservations about coming back to Stars Wars, saying that he felt that it may not be "such a wise idea" to bring Luke back. Hamill also revealed what influenced his decision to reprise the role:
A thing that felt maybe wrong about coming back was the fact that the original trilogy had a beginning, a middle and an end. But there's two ways of looking at that. On the one hand, it had closure. But if you look at it another way, it's the story of how Luke went from becoming a farm boy to a Jedi and then the story ends. It would be like telling the story of how James Bond got his license to kill and became 007, and the story ends.
[Luke being a different person in the new trilogy] is what really fascinated me. Between “Return of the Jedi” and “Force Awakens,” there’s just decades of history that’s unknown. So I was wondering how they’re going to handle all this. Now, obviously, with “Force Awakens,” J.J. (Abrams) had a full plate. It was inevitable that they would push me down the line. I was sorry I wasn’t able to work with any of the original actors again. But it’s not about us anymore. In this new one, I was saying to Rian Johnson: I need to know my backstory. It was kind of unclear. You read where he is now and what he’s doing now and sort of have to fill in the blanks for yourself. So I did do a backstory myself. It’s not about Luke anymore, so it’s not really important. But I had to make sense of it for myself. What Rian came up with, I was stunned.
It's certainly true that the original trilogy felt like an origin story for Luke, despite completing the character's story. The first Star Wars movie showed Luke go from a farm boy to the "new hope" of the Rebel Alliance in their fight against the Empire. Fans got to follow his journey as he lost his adopted parents, trained with Obi-Wan Kenobi, witnessed the death of his new master, learned how to use the Force from Yoda, battled his father Darth Vader, and faced off with the Emperor.
With Luke's victory, this appeared to be the end of Luke's story, until the character made his long-awaited return in the closing seconds of The Force Awakens. Fans still have reservations about what Luke Skywalker's next chapter in The Last Jedi will hold, especially considering Hamill's previous comments, but we will have to wait and see what direction the upcoming film takes the character.
- 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: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019