Star Wars lead Mark Hamill says there are "massive amounts" of Luke Skywalker's backstory after Return of the Jedi that didn't make it into Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Without question, Luke is one of the largest fictional characters to emerge in pop culture in the past 40 years, following the farm boy-turned-Death Star destroyer's introduction in the first chapter of the Star Wars saga, A New Hope. Thanks to the blockbuster success of the very first Star Wars film, fans got the opportunity to see Luke fulfill his larger destiny by facing the nefarious Darth Vader face-to-face in The Empire Strikes Back (and learning the startling revelation that the Dark Lord of the Sith was his father), and redeeming the man born Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi.
While Luke only appeared at the very end of the 2015 continuation of the Skywalker family saga, The Force Awakens, fans got few answers as to where the legendary Jedi master has been for the last three decades. Mainly, filmgoers discovered that Luke was training Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Skywalker's (Carrie Fisher) son, Ben Solo to be a Jedi, only to have his apprentice take a lethal turn turn to the Dark Side and assume the persona of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver); but apart from that the crux of The Force Awakens was for the mysterious character with Jedi powers, Rey (Daisy Ridley), to uncover's Luke's whereabouts.
Obviously, fans with be clamoring for more information on what Luke's been up to for the past 30 years when The Last Jedi debuts in theaters December 15 - but in a new cover story interview with EW, Hamill reveals that fans may not get as much backstory on Luke as they were hoping for. Hamill reveals that he and writer/director Rian Johnson had discussions about what happened to Luke after the end of Return of the Jedi, but ultimately the details weren't deemed essential to The Last Jedi:
“There’s massive amounts of backstory that is left to your imagination and I couldn’t do my job without figuring out what that was. Since it’s not really important to the main story as a whole a lot of it is just for my own process. I talked with Rian about it and went into this elaborate scenario of what happened to Luke after the end of the Return of the Jedi.”
That's not to say that the spirit of the young Luke has left the aging Jedi warrior. It's just at this point in his life, Luke, who is about the same age as Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guiness) was in the first Star Wars film, he's filled with much more conflict:
“I think he probably looks out on the horizon and wishes that he could be more effective, could be what Obi-Wan wanted him to be. But life is imperfect and without conflict there is no drama. Believe me, you’re going to see a lot of conflict in The Last Jedi. That is for sure.”
What exactly is the source of Luke's conflict is yet to be seen, but judging the dark demeanor of the character in the film's first trailer, speculation has arisen of whether he will be a villain in The Last Jedi. Luke's certainly has a lot of emotional baggage to carry in light of Ben Solo's actions as a Jedi apprentice, and he's likely not going to take the news of Han Solo's demise at the hands of Kylo Ren too well.
No matter what happens, it's exciting to learn that the potential exists for some dramatic character turns in The Last Jedi, especially following criticisms that The Force Awakens was too similar to the original Star Wars. Whether these dramatic turns are embraced by fans are yet to be seen, but in order for the Skywalker family saga to continue in a way to engage moviegoers, some risks will have to be taken. Hamill couldn't be more right in his observations when he says, "Without conflict, there is no drama," and by all indications, it sounds like we're going to get a lot of it.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019