WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Mark Hamill explains his creative differences with Rian Johnson on Luke Skywalker's story in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi. Hamill famously played Luke Skywalker in George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy, and he reprised his role for Lucasfilm's Star Wars sequel trilogy, beginning with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and continuing with Johnson's The Last Jedi. Whether he appears in Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX, though, remains to be seen.
Leading up to The Force Awakens, it was unclear how much of a role Hamill had in the film. And when it turned out that all he did was appear in a cameo at the very end, many fans were disappointed - and so was Hamill, who laughed off the matter over time. But he made his concerns with Johnson's sequel publicly known leading up to The Last Jedi's release. In Episode VIII, Hamill's Luke Skywalker exiled himself to Ahch-to, the location of the first Jedi temple. He lived out his last days on that island and, eventually, succumbed to the Force after facing off against Kylo Ren (and the First Order) via projection - and that's precisely the problem Hamill had with The Last Jedi's version of Luke.
Related: Star Wars 8: Why Luke Skywalker Dies
In a recent interview posted on YouTube by user Jar Jar Abrams, Hamill expressed his feelings on Luke Skywalker's story arc in Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, saying it's not how George Lucas would've handled the character's concluding arc.
“I said to Rian, ‘Jedi’s don’t give up.' I mean, even if he had a problem, he would maybe take a year to try and regroup. But if he made a mistake, he would try and right that wrong. So, right there we had a fundamental difference, but it’s not my story anymore. It’s somebody else’s story - and Rian needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective. ...That’s the crux of my problem. Luke would never say that. I’m sorry. Well, in this version, see I’m talking about the George Lucas Star Wars. This is the next generation of Star Wars, so I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he's Jake Skywalker. He’s not my Luke Skywalker, but I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well."
What's interesting is that, even though Hamill fundamentally disagreed with Johnson's decisions for the character (something many fans share), he still played the part, because that was his job. Moreover, Hamill realizes that Star Wars doesn't belong to him, and it doesn't belong to George Lucas anymore either. Once he came to terms with that, he was able to move on. Still, Hamill doesn't believe he's accepted Luke's death as of yet.
"But listen, I still haven’t accepted it completely. But it’s only a movie. I hope people like it. I hope they don’t get upset, and I came to really believe that Rian was the exact man that they need for this job.”
Since Luke Skywalker is a Jedi Master, it's more than likely that Mark Hamill will reprise his role one more time in 2019's Star Wars: Episode IX, but that hasn't been confirmed yet, nor will it be for quite some time. Still, Luke's treatment in The Last Jedi is something that has caused the film's audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, and Metacritic to decline rapidly. So, Lucasfilm should probably take note if it's a subject Hamill feels passionately about as well.
Source: Jar Jar Abrams/YouTube
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019