After being shown as a newborn in Episode 3 and a gawking, grizzled hermit at the end of Episode 7, Luke Skywalker is finally making a full-blown return to Star Wars in The Last Jedi. This will be the first time in over thirty years that Skywalker has spoken in a proper Star Wars film, and while the story of the Skywalker family is finally being pushed forward, it’s the gaps in time that are the most fascinating for historians of the galaxy far, far away.
Just what has Luke been up to over the last few decades? What went wrong with Kylo Ren’s training? When did he decide to take an island getaway? The backstory is there, but it’s just not for public consumption. Mark Hamill developed an entire history of what happened with Luke between episodes, but the details are just for him and director Rian Johnson. In an exclusive interview for Disney Rewards, he explained.
“The biggest challenge for me was actually in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. I had to know what had happened to Luke during those years. I had to glean decades of backstory from the script. And some of it I had to make up for myself. I had to know what he went through during that time.
It’s an old Hollywood cliché for an actor to ask, “what’s my motivation?” But in this one case, it makes sense. And everyone would love to know what that motivation is. Unfortunately, Hamill isn’t giving it up.
“It’s not important to the storyline for this film, but I did discuss some of my thoughts with Rian Johnson to make sure I wasn’t coming up with anything in my personal backstory that would affect Luke’s portrayal in this film,” the last Jedi said.
Hamill did give up at least a little bit of info regarding Luke’s haggard retirement to a lonely rock: “Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices. It haunts him to the core.” He confirmed that Luke “isn’t evil,” or gone to the dark side, but then, for someone like Luke, losing confidence and the ability to make good choices could be frightening. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and then we’re looking at evil Luke.