– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Luke Skywalker didn’t seem to be in a good place at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The man went into hiding before the opening crawl, and when Rey did find him, she found him on a desolate planet on an even more remote island, standing at the top of a hill and looking out into the distance. When he turned around, it wasn’t a look of happiness, but one of immense pain. What happened to this dude? Why did he look so saddened by the sight of the lightsaber?

These are questions we’ve been asking for over a year and a half, and answers we’ll be getting in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It’d be very easy for the studio to mess up the character and his motivations after all these decades. What’s more, actor Mark Hamill has stated in the past that he initially “fundamentally disagreed” on the direction they’d decided to take Luke. Now, in a new piece from EW, it’s a bit easier to understand this doubt. Luke is in a pretty dark place, Hamill revealed to the outlet.

“The fact that Luke says, ‘I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end…’ I mean, that’s a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films. When I first read it, my jaw dropped. What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That’s not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing.”

Hamill mentioned in the past that he really had to turn to director Rian Johnson for help in understanding this updated take on Luke. Johnson spoke to the outlet, discussing what it took for them to find Luke’s motivations.

“The very first step in the writing of this was figuring out why he’s on that island. We know that he is not a coward. He’s not just hiding because he’s scared. But we also know that he must know his friends are in danger. He must know the galaxy needs him. And he’s sitting on this island in the middle of nowhere. There had to be an answer. It had to be something where Luke Skywalker believes he’s doing the right thing – and the process of figuring out what that is and unpacking it is the journey for Rey.”

Hamill went on to discuss the process of discovering the backstory that’s necessary to inform Luke’s character.

“There’s massive amounts of backstory that is left to your imagination and I couldn’t do my job without figuring out what that was. Since it’s not really important to the main story as a whole a lot of it is just for my own process. I talked with Rian about it and went into this elaborate scenario of what happened to Luke after the end of the Return of the Jedi.”

So what was it that was so bad that it drove Luke away? While there’s likely no ONE reason, as many fans predicted, part of it had to do with Kylo Ren, Hamill said.

“[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late.”

History repeats itself, and in many ways, it sounds very similar to what happened with Anakin and Obi-Wan. In a world where a lot of folks complain about Star Wars: The Force Awakens being a retread of A New Hope, we’re hoping the filmmakers will still be able to make a story that manages to surprise along the way.

That being said, I very much appreciate Johnson’s willingness to take risks with Luke Skywalker, and not cave in to pressure to make him feel like he’s been static over the past 30 years.

What do you think of all this? Are you happy to hear about Luke’s issues? 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.