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Rian Johnson on Luke Skywalker's first scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

You know the drill by now, SPOILERS for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI are below.

It was great to be re-introduced to the world of STAR WARS in THE FORCE AWAKENS, with familiar characters returning after long absences, but there was one character who left us waiting until the very end - Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).  Much of the film involved the search for Luke, and after the destruction of Starkiller Base, Rey (Daisy Ridley) took off with Chewbacca and R2-D2 in the Millennium Falcon for the planet Ahch-To and found Luke at the top of a hill where she presented him with Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber. Deep breath. The end.

After an opening space battle sequence, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI returns to the very moment which brought THE FORCE AWAKENS to a close, with Luke now reaching out for the saber and cautiously taking it from Rey's hands. When presented with the lightsaber, the very one which he used to battle his father on Bespin in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, what would Luke do? What sort of thoughts must be racing through his mind? It was a moment which fans had spent two years theorizing about, only to have Luke nonchalantly toss the saber over his shoulder and walk away. It was a surprising moment, and revealed to Rey that Luke was not the man she'd built up in her head. Collider was able to speak with STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI writer/director Rian Johnson at a recent press-day, and asked him what his motivations were in developing that scene.

It wasn’t coming into it and thinking, ‘Okay, they’re expecting this. Let’s have him toss the lightsaber. Ha, ha, ha.’ The reason he did that was because I can’t imagine any other honest reaction from him to that moment.

In order to understand why Luke Skywalker would do something like that, you need to think about Luke's state of mind at the beginning of the film. THE FORCE AWAKENS showed us that Luke had exiled himself on an isolated island, despite his friends continuing to fight the good fight, and Rian Johnson knew that he needed to explore what made Luke disappear in the first place. "Knowing that Luke is a hero, knowing Luke from growing up," Johnson said. "I know he must think he’s doing the right thing by taking himself out of the equation. And because he’s the last Jedi, by taking the Jedi out of the equation, by saying, ‘I’m taking the Jedi out of this fight,’ he must think that’s the best thing for the galaxy." Given that logic, Luke's actions do make sense, and when Rey shows up and presents him with the lightsaber and demands his return to the conflict, Johnson said that Luke wasn't about to take it and say, "‘Great. Let’s go save the galaxy.’ He’s made this choice. He’s there for a reason. I knew it was going to be shocking, but I did it because it felt like, obviously it’s a dramatic expression of it, but it’s an expression of honestly the way that he is going to react to that moment."

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is now playing in theaters, so check out reviews from our own Eric Walkuski and Chris Bumbray. Also, be sure to let us know what YOU thought of the film as well!

Source: Collider

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