It’s a scene that’s already immersed itself in the minds of Star Wars fans as one of the key moments of the saga. At the end of The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s Rey at last tracks Luke Skywalker down to the rocky shores of Ahch-To. In silence, she approaches the hermit Jedi Master and offers him his lightsaber. Cue Star Wars theme music.
It turns out, though, that the scene could have played out slightly different if the original idea for the sequence had been retained. Luke himself, Mark Hamill, has revealed that there was initially an additional element to TFA‘s concluding moments that had to be removed from the final cut as it would have caused a continuity error with The Last Jedi.
“When we were doing [The Force Awakens], Rian said, ‘We might have boulders floating to show your Force emanating’, so I was led to believe that I still had the Force and it was really strong in me. When I read [The Last Jedi] before [The Force Awakens] came out, I said, ‘What?!” and called [Force Awakens director] J.J. [Abrams] or Rian to say, ‘Are you guys aware of this? Have you seen a cut? Is there floating boulders?’… And they said, ‘No, we caught that and we worked it all out.”
You can see why that idea was used at first, as it would have been a cool visual and an even grander way of reintroducing Luke Skywalker back into the franchise. It also would have suited The Force Awakens‘ view of Luke as an all-powerful savior who the Resistance was relying on to bring down the First Order. As Hamill points out, though, it would have made zero sense, as The Last Jedi revealed that Luke had cut himself off from the Force following his self-imposed exile.
This is just another example of how writer/director Rian Johnson took the Star Wars saga in a completely fresh direction and away from what fans expected to happen. Even Hamill himself has been open about how he was conflicted about Luke’s journey in TLJ, though he ultimately clarified that he totally trusts and believes in Johnson’s vision.