By now, it should be no secret that actor Mark Hamill and director Rian Johnson didn't see eye to eye when it came to the depiction of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Like many fans, Hamill had his own idea of what Luke had been up to in the 30-year gap separating Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and being an angry hermit closed off from the Force was not one of them.
Now, after having a bit of time to reflect on Luke Skywalker's journey from A New Hope to The Last Jedi, the actor spoke with IGN about what Luke went through, and how he ultimately feels about the character's drastic change in direction.
"It was a radical change," the actor said of Luke's shift from hero to grunt. "But I think sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing [...] Although a part of me said to Rian, ‘but you know, a Jedi would never give up’. My concept of the character was that even if I chose the New Hitler thinking he was the New Hope, yeah I'd feel terrible, but I wouldn't secret myself on an island and then turn off the Force."
However, with a bit of hindsight, Hamill comes to realize that Luke's journey was a tragic story, and one that ultimately ended in failure. "It is tragic," the actor said. "The only thing I could think of, given the screenplay that I read, was that I was of the Beatles generation - ‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘peace and love’. I thought at that time, when I was a teenager: ‘By the time we get in power, there will be no more war, there will be no racial discrimination, and pot will be legal.’ So I'm one for three. When you think about it, [my generation is] a failure. The world is unquestionably worse now than it was then."
And perhaps that is the perfect mirror for Skywalker's situation. He started off as an idealist who believed in the power of good, but a lifetime of failure and loss took its toll, as it would anyone. It might not be the direction Hamill envisioned, but it's one that even he can understand.
Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is available now on streaming platforms, Blu-ray and 4k HD. The film stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.