– by Joseph Jammer Medina

There’s no overstating the importance of Luke Skywalker’s return to a galaxy far, far away. This is a character who, along with the likes of Han Solo and Princess Leia, helped shaped generations of fans. Even after the credits closed on Return of the Jedi, audiences’ imaginations continued to run wild with speculation. Where would Luke go next? What sort of obstacles would he face? Decent chunks of the now-defunct Star Wars expanded universe helped answer these questions, but very soon audiences will have at least some idea thanks to the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke will not just be there in spirit, but he’ll also be playing an integral role in the plot as well, the same of which can’t be said of its predecessor, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With his impending plot relevance, there’s a lot of pressure to be had, and coming back to take on this challenge is almost one fans couldn’t really blame actor Mark Hamill for passing up. He’d already played the character decades prior, and given the high bar he’d have to jump, he could have been thrust into a no-win situation. But he jumped back in all the same.

“A thing that felt maybe wrong about coming back was the fact that the original trilogy had a beginning, a middle and an end. But there’s two ways of looking at that. On the one hand, it had closure. But if you look at it another way, it’s the story of how Luke went from becoming a farm boy to a Jedi and then the story ends. It would be like telling the story of how James Bond got his license to kill and became 007, and the story ends.”

“When they asked me to come back, it was scary. I thought, ‘Gee, it was hard to catch lightning in a bottle the first time. I don’t know if this is such a wise idea.’”

But as we know now, this isn’t the same old Luke, and apparently that idea is what fascinated Hamill.

“Between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens, there’s just decades of history that’s unknown. So I was wondering how they’re going to handle all this. Now, obviously, with Force Awakens, J.J. (Abrams) had a full plate. It was inevitable that they would push me down the line. I was sorry I wasn’t able to work with any of the original actors again. But it’s not about us anymore. In this new one, I was saying to Rian Johnson: I need to know my backstory. It was kind of unclear. You read where he is now and what he’s doing now and sort of have to fill in the blanks for yourself. So I did do a backstory myself. It’s not about Luke anymore, so it’s not really important. But I had to make sense of it for myself. What Rian came up with, I was stunned.”

As we’ve also heard in the past, Hamill had some real reservations surrounding the direction of Luke’s character, and he made his thoughts known to writer-director Rian Johnson at the time. Since then, Hamill’s come around to this decidedly darker turn for the character, and as audiences, we’re interested to see just how dark it gets.

But of course, as Hamill stated, one key difference between then and now is that the story no longer focuses on Luke. He is now just a player in this bigger name, not the key figure. When all said and done, his own story must now work in favor of the full picture.

What do you think of Hamill’s statements? Is darker really the way to go still? Let us know your thoughts down below.

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.