Luke Skywalker's return in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was highly anticipated among fans, but no one predicted what would happen to the character in the movie.
The Jedi Master's unexpected journey was widely discussed before the movie's release, and Mark Hamill himself even spoke candidly about disagreeing with writer and director Rian Johnson's take on Luke.
Now Johnson is opening up about his first conversations with Hamill, revealing how the Star Wars legend reacted when he found out what was going to happen to the character that launched his career.
Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi below.
In the movie, Luke has gone into self-imposed exile on the ancient Jedi planet on Ahch-To, refusing to join the battle against the First Order. In the end, he projects an image of himself to stand up to Kylo Ren, sparking a hope that would spread across the galaxy.
“As I worked out that his arc was going to be coming to a place where he does this big heroic act that is going to be spread throughout the galaxy — basically taking back the mantle of Luke Skywalker, a Jedi master, a legend — it just slowly became clear to me that it would be this big grand act,” Johnson said to Business Insider. “It would be an act of mythmaking. And if there was ever going to be a place in this entire trilogy to give him this emotional moment of a goodbye, this was probably going to be the most emotionally potent place to do it.”
Hamill, however, didn't exactly agree with the filmmaker.
"It wasn't the thing he wanted to necessarily hear,” Johnson said, laughing. “Understandably so. Mark had all these years to think what Luke's triumphant return would be. Luke's the hero coming back into this story, and the fact that this character and this movie could not be that — this character in this movie was by necessity what he had to be, and also in relation to Rey, that brought its own necessity.”
But the story is about Rey, and Luke Skywalker needed to service her character arc, as Johnson explained.
"It’s not what Mark had in his head initially, and that's why he's spoken very openly about his being caught off guard by the script and where the character ends up,” Johnson said. “But I knew this is where it had to be. We got into the conversations, and we got into the work, and we talked, and we argued, and we discussed, and that process ended up being very good for the character and also for our working relationship. It was a very good one.”
Luke's original arc came to a close at the end of Return of the Jedi, and though he passed on to the Force at the end of The Last Jedi, there is a precedent for characters appearing after death. Just look at Yoda.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters everywhere.