*** SPOILER WARNING ***
Whilst most of the press seemingly loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it’s had its fair share of knocks from fans and it now appears that Mark Hamill himself is becoming more loose in his appraisal of Luke Skywalker’s story arc in the film, as his press commitments are winding down after the run up to it’s release.
Speaking as part of the huge press junket surrounding last week’s release of the film, the actor seemed more open to express that he had approached the role as if it was a new character completely, to combat his disapproval of the script;
“I said to Rian, I said, “Jedi’s don’t give up. I mean even if he had a problem he would maybe take a year to try and regroup, but if he made a mistake he would try and right that wrong.” So right there we had a fundamental difference, 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. Well in this version, see I’m talking about the George Lucas Star Wars. This is the next generation of Star Wars, so I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he is Jake Skywalker.”
Many fans were saddened with the portrayal of Luke’s demise during the film and have reacted angrily at how the classic character was treated in Rhian Johnson’s vision for Episode VIII of the iconic Sci-Fi saga. In interviews earlier this year, Hamill had revealed how he had initially disagreed with Johnson over Luke’s new story, but during interviews shortly before the film’s release, he seemed a lot more positive about the script.
Now with the critical backlash more apparent, including a petition to have the film removed from official Star Wars canon, Hamill seems more open to their dissent, but still supported the director;
“He’s not my Luke Skywalker, but I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well, but 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, and I came to really believe that Rian was the exact man that they need for this job
With his mention of George Lucas and the original trilogy, it’s hard to imagine the actor not struggling to come to terms with the new incarnation of Luke in Johnson’s story and it may be the case that Hamill eventually found peace with his new approach to the character.
The lure of returning to his most iconic role must have been too strong for him to refuse and as he actively engages with fans of the franchise, his “just a movie” comment is somewhat disappointing to hear, but is that a case of him trying to be wise after the event? It appears that some of the criticism from the fans may have got to him and perhaps we shouldn’t be too quick to judge. It’s also unclear how much Hamill knew about the new plans for Luke when he signed on to the project, with him recently revealing on BBC’s Graham Norton show that he trained with a personal trainer for over a year for his part in The Force Awakens, only to have a very minor cameo at the film’s conclusion, heavily clad in robes, which could imply that he thought he would have had a bigger impact on the story in that film.
Hamill is not afraid to let things slip and in the past he has critiqued scenes from the original saga that he disagreed with, such as the amputation of the arm of the Wampa snow creature at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back, previously revealing that as a devout animal lover, he felt it was unnecessary and stated that he had been assured on set that the scene would only show Luke singeing the creature’s hair in order to scare it off. He was said to be very upset with the final completed shot, showing a close-up of the creature’s severed arm.
It’ll be interesting to see if more comes to light surrounding Hamill’s disapproval of the handling of Luke’s Story arc.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is on general release now.