When Luke Skywalker appeared at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans went crazy. They were excited about the potential for the character and his story going forward.
One of the biggest things of interest was his relationship with Rey. Was he her father? It was something many Star Wars’ fans sought to get more answers about. However, things changed when Rian Johnson, writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi took control of the sequel. For some in the Star Wars’ fan base, he created an interesting film that took risks and changed many things within the Star Wars’ canon and with the characters. For others, he was the equivalent of Satan and destroyed everything fans held near and dear about the adventures of the Skywalker lineage and other company.
Before JJ Abrams took command of Star Wars: Episode IX, Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World, was going to be the auteur behind the next installment. Mark Hamill, who portrays Luke Skywalker, stated he and Trevorrow were on the same page with respect to how Skywalker should be portrayed.
“I had discussions with Colin,” Hamill stated. “I was very excited because we were on the same page in terms of where we wanted to go and how we wanted to see Luke in a way that we never have seen him. Even in this current version. But I don’t know what went on. I don’t want to know because there is no upside to that story. I like all those people. I like Kathy, and I like Lawrence Kasdan and all the people involved in that decision, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. And they don’t tell me anything.”
A Reddit user, dasheight35, provided more alleged insights into the matters. “There were two key things Trevorrow wanted to be changed – and they were not minor,” dasheight35 said. “These two things have been known for a while around Disney. Firstly, he wanted Luke to still be alive in 9. He strongly disagreed with killing Luke off in 8 when he had just been re-introduced. Luke and Leia were to be a pivotal part of his script, with Leia’s Force affinity revealed in a much more brother/sister way that was apparently going to be ‘beautiful and tragic.’ Mark Hamill loved it.”
The Reddit user also pointed out it was Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy, one of the film’s producers, that wanted Luke Skywalker killed. “However, Kennedy and Johnson wanted Luke dead – period,” dasheight35 stated. “Second, he wanted Snoke to live, as his backstory was to be more discussed. Fisher dying scuttled his original plan for the Leia Force affinity reveal, of course. But he still needed Lile alive for the story he wanted to tell to end the trilogy – more of a Luke handing off the baton to Rey and a Luke ‘walking off into the sunset’ idea, in the last film – rather than Luke dying in 8. They refused. He argued. They fired him.”
If such allegations are true, it’s confusing as to why exactly they felt they had to kill Skywalker off. There seemed to be a bigger story for the character and eliminating him in such a way as Johnson did, while pulled off well and done so for a reason, seems somewhat different from how the character had been portrayed in the past. Yet, it took a chance and was successful in the storyline it sought to accomplish. It doesn’t seem there’s been much creative freedom given to every film storyteller, especially because of other directors departing their films for similar reasons.
Mark Hamill, himself, had initially voiced concerns about Luke Skywalker’s portrayal in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. “I, at one point, had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.” It was not the only place he noted about his reservations with the new portrayal of Skywalker.
“So, I almost had to think of Luke as another character,” Hamill said. “Maybe, he’s Jake Skywalker. He’s not my Luke Skywalker. But, I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well.” However, he eventually came out to say he was wrong to voice his concerns about the film in the public sphere.
“I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public,” Hamill said on Twitter. “Creative differences are a common element of any project but usually remain private. All I wanted was to make ga ood movie. I got more than that- @rianjohnson made an all-time GREAT one! #HumbledHamill”
If the alleged plans for Star Wars: Episode IX are true, it’s a shame that they never came to fruition. Hamill is right, though. There’s always going to be disagreements in the hope of making the best film possible that audiences will respond positively to.