"This is not going to go the way you think."
So says a grizzled and reclusive Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer, speaking to the audience as much as he is addressing whoever it is the Jedi Master is really warning off screen.
Hamill, who is on record as having said he was initially "insulted" over the aging Jedi's treatment in this new trilogy, shared with Rolling Stone the biggest lesson he learned from The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson: you don't always have to give the audience what they want.
"At times, I'd say to Rian, 'We gotta think of what the audience wants,'" Hamill said. "And he'd say, 'No, we've gotta think of what we want.' Which is a learning process for me."
There was a certain level of expectations built into Luke's long-awaited return in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens after more than 30 years away — expectations that were subverted when Luke, hero of the original Star Wars trilogy, didn't reveal himself until the last minute of the movie, just before credits.
The Sequel Trilogy's direction for Luke caught Hamill off guard more than once: first when he learned of the aged Luke's "Methuselah" look, and again when he first initially learned of Johnson's plans for the character.
"What I was surprised at [was] how he saw Luke," Hamill said, clarifying comments that he "fundamentally disagreed" with the direction Johnson was taking Skywalker.
"And it took me a while to get around to his way of thinking, but once I was there, it was a thrilling experience. I hope it will be for the audience, too."
Fans are speculating Luke has turned or will turn to the Dark Side — speculation fueled by marketing and merchandise — but even as Hamill denies the idea of an "evil" Luke Skywalker, he says the character takes an unexpected turn.
"But it's still an incarnation of the character I never expected," Hamill admitted. "It has pulled me out of my comfort zone. It's a real challenge."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi2017
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