By the time the credits started rolling in the latest installment in the Star Wars saga, the galaxy far, far away was affected by many changes.
Though fans might have had their own hopes for what would happen to the heaviest hitters in the Resistance, writer and director Rian Johnson defied expectations by forcing the characters into unpredictable circumstances.
Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi below.
In the final battle of the film, Luke Skywalker faces off against Kylo Ren, and it seems like he's buying time for the Resistance to escape utter annihilation at the hands of the First Order. But in truth, he's actually igniting a spark of hope in the galaxy as the tale of the confrontation spreads far and wide.
But in that moment, Luke ends fading away and becoming one with the Force, much like Yoda did in Return of the Jedi. Johnson and actor Mark Hamill spoke with Anthony Breznican at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about Luke's demise in the new film and how they came to terms with the decision.
“I had huge hesitance,” said Johnson. “I was terrified. It was a growing sense of dread when I realized this was going to make sense in that chapter.”
Johnson said he discussed the decision with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the Story Group before committing to the moment.
“It was not like I wrote the script and dropped it on their desk. It was very important to me that I was collaborating with the folks at Lucasfilm from the word go,” Johnson said. “I moved to San Francisco for a few months and would go in a few times a week to keep them up to date, spewing my ideas out, especially the big ones.”
Hamill, who previously said he used to argue with Johnson about his direction with the character, was going through various stages of grief after Luke's demise.
"Well, I’m still in denial,” joked Hamill. “I just think he transported somewhere else."
But since Luke's journey ended in Return of the Jedi, Johnson wanted the new series to sharpen its focus on the new characters moving forward. But Hamill still angled to stick around.
"The first thing I said was, ‘Can’t you wait and do this in Episode IX?’” Hamill said.
“I’m just still holding on to the line, ‘See you around, kid.’ I can be in Episode IX! I might consider catering the film just so I can hang out.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters everywhere.