One of the most exciting elements of The Force Awakens was the announcement that series veterans Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill would return to reprise the roles they debuted 40 years ago. While Ford and Fisher were featured prominently, Hamill had merely a glorified cameo, which disappointed some fans, but Hamill completely understood.
"Now, obviously, with Force Awakens, J.J. had a full plate," Hamill explained to The Vancouver Sun. "It was inevitable that they would push me down the line. I was sorry I wasn't able to work with any of the original actors again. But it's not about us anymore."
When Lucasfilm announced in the '90s that they'd be developing a trilogy of films that were set before the events of the first film, it was a given that the original actors wouldn't make an appearance. The events of The Force Awakens were shrouded in secrecy, so fans had no idea how much the original cast members would be featured in the new story.
While Hamill's disappointment at not getting to work with his former co-stars was a feeling shared by audiences, we got to meet compelling new characters like Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren.
The lack of Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens might have come as a surprise to audiences, but it was something Hamill was prepared for.
"When we left [the original trilogy], even if they were going to do a third trilogy, it wouldn't have anything to do with us. George never said you're going to do three more," Hamill admitted. "He did mention maybe coming back and doing a cameo and handing Excalibur to the next young hope. This is back when we were doing the first one and I thought, 'What is this supposed to be?'"
For fans who missed Luke, the next installment should feature the character more heavily, as he has already played a prominent role in the teaser, interacting with Rey and guiding her through training.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters December 15.