TV & FILM
brian-mcgee - June 27, 2018
Not long after the release of The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill gave the first bit of credence to one particular aspect of the film that many fans disagreed with. Namely, the fact that Luke Skywalker, who saw the good in Darth Vader, would succumb to his own failures as a teacher, rather than learn from them.
In a recent interview with IGN, Hamill was once again asked about this topic, and once again gave his standard line that he didn't agree with it, but it was his job to make it work. I encourage you to read the full article, where they talk about many other topics, as I'm only pulling two quotes from it...
“It was a radical change, but I think sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing [...] Although a part of me said to Rian, ‘but you know, a Jedi would never give up’. My concept of the character was that even if I chose the New Hitler thinking he was the New Hope, yeah I'd feel terrible, but I wouldn't secret myself on an island and then turn off the Force.”
Apparently Hamill was also misled by statements made to him by J.J. Abrams when he first read the script for The Force Awakens...
“J.J. said, ‘Oh and by the way I'll probably put in a couple of floating boulders to show the Force emanating from you, as strong as it is.’ So I'm thinking for VIII, I'm going to have Force Lightning coming out of every orifice of my body. You know, lifting an eyebrow and toppling AT-ATs like dominoes. That would have been fun to be that powerful! Plus, I wouldn't have to do much. They wouldn't have to teach me choreography to do lightsaber duels. I'd just have to do this,” Hamill points across the room, “and let the special effects guy do everything.”
Now, in fairness to Rian Johnson, this can was punted to him from J.J. and Lawrence Kasdan. They're the ones who created the whole "Why did Luke run away and hide?" mystery plot for TFA. What I happen to think is brilliant about what Johnson did, however, was lean into the sheer stupidity and cowardice of the move, before redeeming him in spectacular fashion.
Luke ran away. Johnson could've dealt with that by having Luke fire up that lightsaber the second Rey handed it to him, but he didn't. He took the character to his lowest point, showing him how utterly dumb and ultimately pointless it was to run away from the fight in the first place. That then gives him the opportunity to reach his highest point since turning Vader back to the light. He humiliates Kylo Ren by pulling off an amazing Jedi mind trick, the likes of which we'd never seen before in the films.
I get the anger from the fans, I really do. Hamill backs it all up as well, and that undeniably validates it all. But I really don't think it's as bad as everyone's making it out to be. It's closer to a "that's not what I would have done" situation than a legitimate storytelling reason why his arc doesn't work. I'm sure you'll all let me know just how wrong I am in the comments section below.
The Last Jedi is now available to stream via Netflix.