[Editor’s Note: Spoilers for “The Last Jedi” follow.]
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has been a tough pill to swallow for some sections of the “Star Wars” fandom. Included among them is none other than Mark Hamill, who’s turn as Luke Skywalker has been at the center of some of the most vocal backlash against “The Last Jedi.” The Jedi spends much of the film as a curmudgeon, refusing to help Rey in the fight against the First Order. Eventually he comes around and trains her, and he ultimately decides to sacrifice his life to save the Resistance.
Luke’s story arc has been one of the more controversial parts of Rian Johnson’s script. Not everyone is a fan of the decision to turn Luke into such an unhappy anti-Jedi advocate, and even Hamill admits in an interview with Comic Book that he “still hasn’t accepted” the changes to his iconic character. Hamill didn’t necessarily believe that Luke would go into hiding for years after the destruction of the Jedi temple.
“I said to Rian, ‘Jedis don’t give up.’ I mean, even if [Luke] had a problem, he would maybe take a year to try and regroup, but if he made a mistake, he would try to right that wrong, so right there, we had a fundamental difference,” Hamill said. “But it’s not my story anymore, it’s somebody else’s story and Rian needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective. That’s the crux of my problem. Luke would never say that. I’m sorry.””
Hamill says the script turned Luke into an entirely different character, so much so that he was forced to think of the role as “another character.”
“Maybe he’s ‘Jake Skywalker,’ he’s not my Luke Skywalker,” Hamill said. “But I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well. Listen, I still haven’t accepted it completely, but, it’s only a movie. I hope people like it. I hope they don’t get upset. I came to really believe that Rian was the exact man they needed for this job.”
In the week since “The Last Jedi” debuted in theaters, it’s become very clear that a lot of people don’t like the decision to turn Luke into a sad loner and then kill him off. But the decision has be made, and there’s no telling how Luke’s sacrifice will alter the “Star Wars” universe in the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode IX.