After 41 years since Mark Hamill first appeared onscreen as Luke Skywalker in George Lucas' original Star Wars, the actor thinks the ending of Star Wars: The Last Jedi reflects the world today. After saying goodbye to Luke in last year's The Last Jedi, Hamill referred to this newfound connection between the movie and the real world as "tragic."
Over the course of four decades, Hamill portrayed Luke Skywalker in four feature-length movies, plus a small portion of The Force Awakens. His latest portrayal of the character was in Rian Johnson's divisive The Last Jedi, in which Luke has exchanged his traditional characteristics of hope and idealism for apathy and isolation. In the movie, Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) tries desperately to convince Luke to train her, while Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) and the rest of the First Order pursue the remaining members of the Resistance. Luke does eventually agree to train Rey, but ultimately loses his own life in the process while helping the Resistance bide time for their escape. Now, after reflecting on the many years he's spent as the character, Hamill has reached a depressing realization that ties all the way back to the original Star Wars.
While speaking with IGN, Hamill reflected upon the way of the world as it was in the late 1970s compared to how it is today. He explained that when he originally took the part of Luke, he was as idealistic as the character; and even though he never considered himself to be a method actor, he couldn't help but use a somewhat method approach to his performance when playing Luke. When he read Lucas' script, he compared its message to a general feeling of "peace and love," referring to The Beatles as proponents and representatives of this overall idea. That said, his tune has changed since then, referring to his generation as a "failure" and society as "unquestionably worse now than it was then." He said:
"It is tragic. I’m not a method actor, but one of the techniques a method actor will use is to try and use real-life experiences to relate to whatever fictional scenario he’s involved in. The only thing I could think of, given the screenplay that I read, was that I was of the Beatles generation—‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘peace and love’. I thought at that time, when I was a teenager: ‘By the time we get in power, there will be no more war, there will be no racial discrimination, and pot will be legal.’ So I’m one for three. When you think about it, [my generation is] a failure. The world is unquestionably worse now than it was then."
Though Hamill is reflecting on the negative connection between real life and Star Wars, he typically exudes a far more positive personality on social media. The actor actively engages with followers on his personal Twitter account, and though the bulk of his tweets are oftentimes politically-charged, his approach is usually lighthearted. Even his 'About Me' description says, "Believe in yourself! Work hard, never give up & anything's possible! OR: Kick back, relax & aim low: You'll never be disappointed..."
And despite the fact that Hamill doesn't consider himself to be a method actor, both his original and most recent portrayals of Luke tied into his off-screen personality of the moment. In the original Star Wars, Luke is faced with adversities, but embraces the future; in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke has all but given up, resorting to exile, instead of fighting the good fight. Still, though, if life does imitate art, then perhaps there will be a "new hope" in Hamill's foreseeable future after all.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019