I’ve seen a lot of movies. You’ve seen a lot of movies. Collectively, we’ve seen all the movies (aside from the really awful stuff at the bottom of Netflix’s catalog). So, it’s probably fair to say that it takes a lot to shock or surprise us.
We also love our movie genres and franchises, however silly, outrageous, frustrating, or divisive they might be. However, the long-term problem with long-running genres and franchises is their tendency to repeat themselves or fall into formula traps. Repetition leads to boredom, and boredom leads to apathy, which ultimately leads to direct-to-video.
And then there’s Star Wars, one of Hollywood’s oldest and most popular properties whose fans are arguably the most entrenched of any hardcore base. But many of these fans were disappointed by the story beats in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which borrowed liberally from Star Wars: A New Hope. Perhaps to counter such fan backlash, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi was so packed with surprises that it created an entirely new and different fan backlash — but no one can say it was boring!
One of the biggest shockers in The Last Jedi was Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker story arc. At the risk of spoiling anything for the five people who haven’t seen the movie yet, Skywalker’s final moments in the film have been the source of endless discussions around the Internet.
Hamill has been outspoken about his performance in those final scenes (and the script underlying it). It’s can be hard to discern whether he’s bitter and sour, or just yanking everyone’s chain (he is sometimes the Joker, after all). Hamill recently shared his thoughts with CinemaBlend:
“As you go along it’s more and more difficult to surprise people. You want to deliver the elements that everyone expects – the action, the adventure, the spectacular sort of special effects, the characters, and the humor, which I think is very important. Because when I read the original Star Wars I thought it was hilarious. I mean, robots arguing over whose fault it is? It was absurd in a delightful way. So I think that was Rian’s challenge, and I love the unexpected.”
Surprise is the operative word here, and The Last Jedi certainly delivered plenty of it. He strikes a positive tone with these comments, and he’s taking a 50,000-foot view of the franchise while also addressing his feelings about the reality on the ground. But how does he feel about Luke’s final moments:
“Luke’s story is so sad, confronting his own mortality, and the failure, and futility… I find it ironic that one of the characters I’m most in sync with is Benicio Del Toro’s character… We process it in different ways, but we both become really cynical about the futility of conflicts. I think it’s audacious as hell. It’s challenging, and ends, like you say, so many preconceived notions, and I love it for that reason.”
Seeing Hamill exit the franchise in the manner that he did left a lot of fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Other fans, however, felt it was an honorable and respectful way to conclude his journey. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no debating that it was as memorable an end for a revered character as we’ve seen in film — and we’ve seen them all, so we know it’s true.
How do you feel about the end of Luke Skywalker’s Star Wars journey? Let us know in the comments down below!
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