Not counting his silent cameo at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mark Hamill is about to reprise his iconic role of Luke Skywalker for the first time in 34 years in this December’s The Last Jedi. As we know from the trailer, the movie will feature a very different Luke from the one we saw in the original trilogy. While his friends and family have been desperately searching for him, the beloved hero’s been living the life of a hermit on the backwater planet Ahch-To.
While speaking with EW, Hamill had plenty to discuss about the character. For one, he teased that there’s a complex reason why Luke’s estranged himself from his old life and that he “believes he’s doing the right thing” by leaving the galaxy in the lurch.
“The very first step in the writing of this was figuring out why he’s on that island. We know that he is not a coward. He’s not just hiding because he’s scared. But we also know that he must know his friends are in danger. He must know the galaxy needs him. And he’s sitting on this island in the middle of nowhere. There had to be an answer. It had to be something where Luke Skywalker believes he’s doing the right thing – and the process of figuring out what that is and unpacking it is the journey for Rey.”
The actor also admitted to “struggling” with grasping the idea that Luke’s mindset and personality has changed so much.
“The fact that Luke says, ‘I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end…’ I mean, that’s a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films. When I first read it, my jaw dropped. What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That’s not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing.”
When Rey comes to Luke for help in the movie, he won’t jump at the chance to train up another young Jedi. Hamill explained that Luke’s too broken-hearted by the betrayal of his nephew Ben AKA Kylo Ren, who he believed to be “the chosen one.” Like grandfather, like grandson.
“[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late.”
Last but not least, Hamill revealed that he’s talked to director Rian Johnson and come up with a full backstory of what Luke’s been up to since we last saw him. Though most of it won’t be in the film, let’s hope some details leak out onto the web, as fans would surely love to hear about it.
“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.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theatres on December 15th.
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