Star Wars: The Force Awakens concept art reveals what Robert Boulter would've looked like as young Luke Skywalker in a deleted scene. Being the first Star Wars film produced since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, The Force Awakens was tasked with both bridging the gap between the movies that had come before it and setting the stage for the films to come by introducing a new generation of heroes and villains. Fortunately, The Force Awakens largely succeeded on each count and got the Disney era of Star Wars started on a strong note at the box office and with fans/critics alike.
One of the more intriguing connections between the Star Wars movies future and past came during a key sequence in The Force Awakens, after young protagonist Rey touches Luke's lightsaber and experiences a vision of events that've already happened - both to her and to other people - along with a brief glimpse of her future showdown with Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base. Among the other things that Rey sees during her vision is the Cloud City lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and young Luke that took place in The Empire Strikes Back. While neither Vader nor Luke appears onscreen during the scene, an actor was cast to play the latter in the film.
Concept art from a deleted portion of Rey's Force vision in The Force Awakens has made its way online via Reddit and since begun to spread across the Internet like wildfire (see the following tweet by Adam Frazier, for case in point). The artwork offers a glimpse of what Boulter looked like as young Luke from Empire Strikes Back during the sequence's cut portion. (Obviously, this is before Luke gets one of his hands lopped off by his dear ol' dad).
Interestingly enough, this concept art confirms a longstanding rumor about The Force Awakens. Back in February 2015 (e.g. nearly ten months before Force Awakens hit theaters), it was reported that Boulter has been cast to play young Luke in a flashback sequence. Details beyond that were unavailable at the time but, now, we can finally confirm that the scene in question was part of Rey's vision in the film. This also explains where the even earlier rumors about Darth Vader making a cameo in Star Wars 7 (as it was known at the time) came from, back in 2014.
As interesting as it would've been to see another actor play young Luke in The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams arguably made the right call in leaving this part of Rey's Force vision out. One of the biggest concerns that Abrams and his creative team had on that film was that the returning characters like Luke would overshadow the young leads like Rey. Mark Hamill doesn't appear as older Luke until the movie's closing moments for related reasons, and a cameo by young Luke (not to mention, young Luke played by someone who isn't Hamill) might've likewise proven to be a distraction, more than anything else. Still, while the Cloud City portion of Rey's vision works fine without Boulter, at least his efforts to portray young Luke/Hamill can now be appreciated (though, yes, he's no Sebastian Stan).
Source: Reddit [via Adam Frazier]
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019