This story contains spoilers for "Chapter 16" of The Mandalorian. When a Force ghost Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) appeared to Rey (Daisy Ridley) at the Lars homestead to end Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it would be Hamill's final time playing the farmboy-turned-Jedi. Except it wasn't. In the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, "Chapter 16: The Rescue," set some five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, it's a de-aged Master Skywalker who comes to collect Grogu from Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) so that he may train the Yoda-looking foundling in the ways of the Force.
Hamill receives a credit in the episode alongside Max Lloyd-Jones, who doubled on-set as the younger Luke, and Hamill says keeping his involvement secret for more than a year is "nothing less than a miracle."
It was just a few months after season 2 of The Mandalorian wrapped a six-month shoot that Hamill said he "can't imagine" ever reprising his role after a "bittersweet" sendoff in The Rise of Skywalker, billed as the conclusion to the nine-episode "Skywalker Saga." As he told Entertainment Weekly this past May:
"Oh, I can't imagine that, no," he said when asked about another trip to the Star Wars galaxy. "I had a beginning, middle, and end. Those films gave me far more than I ever expected when we started out so it's never even occurred to me."
A day earlier, Hamill tweeted it was "bittersweet" knowing that Episode IX "was the last time I would ever play Luke." Because it was the body of Lloyd-Jones in "The Rescue," perhaps that was true — from a certain point of view.
"My farewell was in Episode IX and it was bittersweet," he said at the time. "I love all those people and I certainly have affection for George [Lucas] and the character he created. I'm full of gratitude for what it has given me and my career but I don't want to be greedy. There are still so many more stories to tell and so many great actors to tell them, they don't need me."
In that same interview, Hamill said that he was "very impressed" with the Jon Favreau-created Mandalorian.
"I think they have a wonderful advantage on The Mandalorian in that it's economical storytelling. They don't have the burden of delivering a gigantic special effects extravaganza like the films had to do," Hamill said. "It sort of gets back to the basics of George envisioning it as a western in space. It has that tone of a Sergio Leone Western."
He added, "I'm very impressed with it and to me, a very smart move on their part because you can't keep trying to top... It's like the superhero movies that have to deliver these gargantuan epics. And with The Mandalorian, they can concentrate more on the characters and the storytelling. I think it's excellent."
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