Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens with the words "Luke Skywalker has vanished" and continues on with a storyline driven in large part by various characters attempting to discover where the onetime last of the Jedi had gone to. And while few fans were expecting Mark Hamill's famous Original Trilogy hero to be the center of the new storyline, it came as quite a shock to many that he ultimately did not appear until the final shot of the film - and has yet to speak a line of new dialogue.
One other person who was surprised: Mark Hamill himself, who now says he had some different ideas about when and how he'd show up.
Speaking as part of a panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe where our own Rob Keyes was in attendance, Hamill revealed that he was not made aware of the film's story details until reading them for himself in the script. As he read through the pages, he continued to be unable to guess what sort of role his character would eventually play - at one point guessing (incorrectly) that Luke would turn out to be the Jedi who Force-snatches the lightsaber away from Kylo Ren during the climactic fight in the snow:
“I thought I came in when the lightsaber flies off. What? Rey caught it?! She hasn’t even finished her training!”
Hamill quickly clarified that he was joking about his incredulousness at Rey's abilities, since Luke did not complete his training either. The question of how Rey's Force-sensitivity and familiarity with various Jedi skills works in the context of established Star Wars lore has been a serious bone of contention for some fans, who have alleged that her (thus far) unexplained omnicompetence designates her as an overpowered and poorly-drawn character or "Mary Sue" created exclusively to draw praise for adding gender-diversity to the main cast.
At the same event, Hamill went on to tease that Luke does indeed have dialogue and a more prominent role in the Rian Johnson-directed Episode VIII; offering this cryptic early appraisal of what fans can expect to hear:
“There’s dialogue in there that I can see on a T-shirt... Rian Johnson is amazing. Forget ‘May the Force be with you.’”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
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