Hamill, Johnson Talk Luke’s “Last Jedi” Journey

Speaking with EW for their “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” cover story in their Fall preview guide, Mark Hamill says that the Luke Skywalker we’ll see is quite different to what many will remember.

In this, he’s a broken man who would prefer to stay lost, so when Rey shows up with that lightsaber she doesn’t get a warm welcome. It’s a big change from how fans see Luke, and it’s something Hamill had issues with:

“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.”

Johnson talked about the process of explaining why Luke had banished himself to this remote and desolate place:

“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.”

We know Han and Leia’s son, Ben Solo, turned to the dark side and murdered his fellow students at Luke’s new Jedi academy. Hamill hints that the event led to Luke doubting his own connection to the Force:

“[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.

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” opens in cinemas on December 15th.