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Mark Hamill reacts to Luke's ominously dark turn in The Last Jedi

When last we left Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), with both characters standing atop a jagged, weather-torn island, the pair shared a silent exchange as Rey held the legendary Jedi's lightsaber in her trembling, outstretched hand. With a look of, "Did you happen to bring my other hand?," in his eyes, an exhausted-looking Skywalker appeared to fans as if he were about to deliver one hell of a galaxy-sized truth bomb before the closing credits began to roll on STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

I remember the first time I looked into Hamill's eyes at the end of that film, and I thought, "Man, that guy must've really seen some shit." After all, that was not the Skywalker that I remember. No, what I saw during that final scene was a man with a shattered soul - someone who, at some point, believes they'd chosen the wrong path. Without knowing the details of Luke's journey, it's difficult for me to discern what managed to transform him into the cloaked shadow of the blonde hair and blue-eyed farmboy I was introduced to, all those years ago at the start of the original trilogy.

Recently, Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, dished to Entertainment Weekly by sharing some of his personal thoughts in reference the direction and state of Luke's character by saying, “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,” Hamill said. “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.” 

Rey actress Daisy Ridley was also standing by at the time of the interview, and commented on the idea that Rey is not well-received by Luke at the start of their fortuitous meeting. However, Ridley went on to explain that, “She’s so hopeful to everything,” Ridley says. “And obviously there’s a hint of, ‘What the hell?’” Naturally, this exchange becomes an issue for Rey, with consideration to the fact that she'd already been abandoned as a child and now has to face aparent rejection from one of her own Jedi kind. Ridley then continued to elaborate by saying that, until her meeting with Luke, Rey had experienced no trouble whatsoever in making new friends along her journey. “Regardless of everything else, she’s been welcomed. No one ever really turns away from her,” says Ridely.

In continuing to talk about the tonal shift she encounters after arriving on the craggy island of Ach-To, Daisy then spoke about Rey's interior dialogue upon meeting Skywalker by saying that the character must be thinking, “’Oh my God, this other man that I lost within a couple days was somewhat of a father figure. Now he’s gone, and instead I’m with this grumpy guy on an island who doesn’t want me here.’” Ridley also states that Rey's mission is clear within her own mind, that her goal is to push Skywalker into being the Jedi he's meant to become. “I don’t think one girl, who he doesn’t know, turning up with a lightsaber is gonna make him go, ‘Oh, s—, yeah, of course I’ll get back into the action,’” said Ridley.

Hamill then replied to this notion in a separate interview by saying, "But does he know her?" Oh Hamill, you playful, misdirecting so-and-so. Of course, a primary focus of the film will be for Rey to uncover more about her mysterious past. Who is she connected to? How did she inherit her powers? Why was she abandoned at such a young age?

Mark then went on to speak about Luke's penchant for self-doubt in the latest chapter of the Star Wars saga by saying, “[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,” said Hamill. “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.”

Obviously, director Rian Johnson has his work cut out for him, after having inherited a self-shaming, hermitous Skywalker for his film. In talking about the approach to Luke's darkness, Johnson stated that, “The very first step in the writing of this was figuring out why he’s on that island,” Johnson says. “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 then continues, “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,” says the Skywalker actor.

When questioned as to why we discover Luke standing along the edge a cliff side, looking rather forlorn, Hamill responds by saying, “I think he probably looks out on the horizon and wishes that he could be more effective, could be what Obi-Wan wanted him to be,” Hamill says. “But life is imperfect and without conflict there is no drama. Believe me, you’re going to see a lot of conflict in The Last Jedi. That is for sure.”

Buck up, Luke! You're about to go save the mother flippin' galaxy with a fresh-off-the-vine Jedi warriors! Dust off your smelly, old robe, show us your war face, and let's go teach the New Order who's boss, okay?

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI will force it's way into theaters beginning on December 15th.

Extra Tidbit: I sure do hope that Luke takes to having Rey along for the adventure. She's already been through so much and is more than worthy of the Jedi mantle.

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