One of the biggest surprises on TV last year was the return of Luke Skywalker in the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, especially due to how technology managed to craft the appearance of a Luke who had only aged by a few years since the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Fans are still scratching their heads over how such a feat was pulled off, given that nearly 30 years have passed for Mark Hamill, with visual effects supervisor Hal Hickel recently addressing how important Hamill's involvement was in the cameo, while also withholding the specifics of how the scene was pulled off.
"That particular aspect of the effects of Season 2 is probably the thing I can talk about the least," Hickel shared with The Resistance Broadcast. "But I will say this. One, it was always important for everyone involved to have Mark involved. So it's not just like, 'Well, we are recasting and we'll deep-fake over him.' Mark had to be involved with crafting the performance and he was. He was there on set when the scene was shot… he was totally involved all the way through."
He continued, "Also, Peyton Reed, who directed the episode, he'd done some previous de-aging work with Michael Douglas in Ant-Man, so he had worked with some folks in the process and everything for that, so that played a part into what we were doing and how we did that work. And it was part of the decision-making progress. Richard Bluff, who is the overall visual effects supervisor on The Mandalorian and myself, we were both very much involved in giving feedback on the work and presenting it to Jon [Favreau], and Peyton, and Dave [Filoni]. So those were the primary drivers on the work, Peyton's experience with Ant-Man and Mark had to be involved."
Hamill hasn't kept it a secret that he was involved in the sequence, but with that episode listing Max Lloyd Jones as the "Double for Jedi," a number of possibilities emerged for how the scene had been pulled off. In both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, doubles were used to have the faces of late performers digitally added to them, leading fans to assume The Mandalorian had followed a similar avenue. Additionally, even other actors who were in the scene claimed to be oblivious to Hamill's involvement, which only adds more questions to how the filmmakers made the scene become a reality.
Season 3 of The Mandalorian is expected to hit Disney+ later this year. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
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