The Star Wars hype machine is finely oiled and as streamlined as a bullet, with Disney never missing a chance to big up any incoming instalment in the franchise. And, credit where credit’s due, every bit of praise they heaped on The Force Awakens and Rogue One prior to release proved to be justly deserved.
So, when Disney CEO Bob Iger says that Mark Hamill’s performance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is his best to date as Luke Skywalker, maybe we should take him at his word. After all, it’s common knowledge that Luke is to take more of a central role in the upcoming movie, apparently being responsible for honing Rey’s potential into a full-fledged Jedi Knight over the course of the film.
It’s not as if Iger is the first to specifically praise Hamill’s work here, either, as J.J. Abrams has said the actor should win an Oscar for his performance in Episode VIII. Now, Abrams is no stranger to raising expectations way beyond reasonable heights, but I think we can at least assume that Hamill is giving his all in this, as it’s our first proper encounter with Luke since the end of Return of the Jedi way back in 1983 (his cameo in The Force Awakens doesn’t really count, though it was awesome).
Next to Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, Hamill’s performance in the original trilogy has never really gotten the attention it deserved. Some people even dismiss him as being a bit wooden. I can kinda see their point in some of Luke’s dorkier moments in A New Hope, but I’ve always felt that he knocks it out of the park in Empire and Jedi.
We have a mere five months to go before we know for certain whether Iger is blowing smoke up our asses, but, even though I’m naturally skeptical of CEOs hyping up films, I think there’s a decent chance he’s telling the truth. Regardless, we’ll know for sure if Oscar glory awaits Hamill on December 15th, when Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens big.