Fans are hopeful Mark Hamill reprises Luke Skywalker as a Force ghost in Star Wars: Episode IX, but the actor himself seems content whether or not he comes back. Hamill delivered one of his more memorable performances in The Last Jedi, bringing life to an older and world-weary Luke who eventually went out as the heroic legend the galaxy knew him to be. At the end of the film, Luke became one with the Force in peace after reigniting the spark of hope for the Rebellion.
Of course, just because Luke Skywalker died, it doesn't mean the character's role in the saga is over. Like Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda before him, it's possible for Luke to return in spirit form. Not long ago, it was Hamill who pitched the concept of making Luke a terrifying Force ghost (presumably to haunt a tortured Kylo Ren), but based on his most recent comments, it doesn't matter if Luke is part of Star Wars 9 or not.
Speaking with ABC News, Hamill talked about his future (or lack thereof) in the galaxy far, far away, remarking how in particular the death of Carrie Fisher took a toll on him:
“It really has tarnished my ability to enjoy it to its fullest. You were asking earlier, ‘Are you gonna come back?’ I don’t care anymore, on that level. Because Han Solo is gone, Luke is gone. You just can’t get the band back together the way you wanted it to be, and it shouldn’t be that way. It is what it is. Rather than being sorry that we can’t have more of her, I’m just grateful that we had the time with her that we did.”
It's important for viewers to not take this as any kind of confirmation Hamill is closing the door on a possible return. He previously said that decision would be up to J.J. Abrams, the Episode IX director who is also co-writing the script with Chris Terrio. It sounds like if Hamill was asked to portray Luke one more time, he would agree to sign on, but he's not going to go out of his way to actively campaign for a role. One can understand why he feels this way. Through storytelling decisions and real-life tragedy, Hamill is the only member of the original big three who can be in Episode IX, and that has to be a strange feeling for him. He has much admiration and respect for the youngsters in the sequel trilogy cast, but for Hamill, Star Wars wouldn't be the same without reconnecting with Harrison Ford and Fisher - two friends he has many fond memories of.
It'll be interesting to see what Abrams ultimately decides to do. On one hand, a Luke Force ghost in Episode IX makes a great deal of sense, given his relationships with both Rey and Kylo Ren. He could return for one last hurrah similar to Yoda in Last Jedi, offering some sage advice for his pupil to keep in mind. However, the story of the sequel trilogy is now firmly in the hands of the new generation that took the torch from Luke, Han, and Leia back in The Force Awakens. The younger ensemble is so strongly established now, Star Wars 9 could have no legacy characters (other than bit parts from Chewie and the droids) and audiences would buy in. One of the greatest accomplishments of the new movies was getting fans invested in Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren to the point where they're all Episode IX needs.
Source: ABC News
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019