Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Mark Hamill has finally put to rest the almost year-long discussion over his opinion of Luke Skywalker's arc in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, saying he regrets making his reservations public. The Jedi Master returned in Rian Johnson's Episode VIII but a little different to how many expected: the Luke of The Last Jedi was disenfranchised with the Jedi and waiting for death in exile following his part in Ben Solo's fall to the dark side.
Back in April, when these plot points weren't known, Hamill expressed his strong reaction to first reading the script for The Last Jedi, saying he initially "fundamentally disagreed" with what the director intended to do. This was complemented with a clarification he ultimately learned to prefer Johnson's vision, but that didn't stop the story repeatedly turning up. These quotes and variants from the film's press tour have resurfaced following the mixed reaction to the movie, but now the actor's stepped forward to settle the matter.
The Twitter account of Star Wars resource The Stupendous Wave shared an interview where Hamill explained the whole story, saying "I've had trouble accepting what he [Rian Johnson] saw for Luke. But again, I mean, I have to say, having seen the movie, I was wrong. I think being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing because if I was just another benevolent Jedi training padawans, we've seen it." The actor himself then quoted the image, saying he regrets sharing the doubts, clarifying they are natural and usual creative discussions and that he believes The Last Jedi to be a "GREAT" film.
I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public.Creative differences are a common element of any project but usually remain private. All I wanted was to make good movie. I got more than that- @rianjohnson made an all-time GREAT one! #HumbledHamill https://t.co/8ujJfBuEdV
— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 26, 2017
This aspect of Hamill's disagreement with Johnson - that the direction taken by the filmmaker challenged the actor's expectation but was ultimately accepted - has always been present in this news story, albeit ignored by many of those quoting. However, this is the first time the actor has tackled the subject so head on and expressed regret for saying it. As he says, this is typical of any creative process. Indeed, it was true of The Empire Strikes Back, where Hamill likewise felt Irvin Kershner's approach took Luke on a different journey than what Star Wars pointed towards.
It's likely the initial reaction came from context. Hamill had long been privy to George Lucas' original plans for the sequel trilogy in which Luke was a more conventional master, and that seemed to be where J.J. Abrams was heading in The Force Awakens; the ending of that film had to be changed shortly before release to account for Rian Johnson's lightsaber toss introduction. It's also likely the choice to kill Luke Skywalker at the end of the film, with him sacrificing himself to become one with the Force to save the Resistance, challenged Hamill after spending most of Episode VII absent. That's shocking, but in the film itself is thematically strong.
While Hamill is ultimately OK with the Luke Episode VIII delivered, some fans aren't, with many wanting the "benevolent Jedi training padawans" that was a staple of the non-canon Expanded Universe. This has been one of the major points of contention that has made The Last Jedi the most divisive Star Wars film yet, and a topic that is unlikely to be settled for a long time to come - regardless of what the actor says.
Source: Mark Hamill
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019