For all of its financial success, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has become quite a controversial offering from Lucasfilm. As everyone knows, it saw the long-awaited return of Luke Skywalker, which came two years after his famously silent cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the story, this occurs roughly three decades after his victory in Return of the Jedi.
Yet, there’s been a strong backlash against The Last Jedi. Many enthusiasts have even asked for the film to be struck from the canon, with a large portion of the anger stemming from Luke’s characterization as a disillusioned and downtrodden Jedi, which fans have decried as too different from his younger self.
Given how much debate it’s inspiring at the moment, it’s not too surprising to hear that Mark Hamill was actually a bit scared to make the film. And it’s because of exactly what’s happening now. That being that the franchise has such a legacy and such a passionate fanbase that there’s always that worry of upsetting people with what you do and which direction you take the story and characters in.
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Speaking to ComicBook.com recently, the actor said the following:
“Any job is exciting, on a certain level. This one was just so high profile and scary because of the legacy involved. And it wasn’t easy. It was challenging because I thought, ‘What could have happened to this guy, who was the most optimistic character, to become suicidal and wanting the Jedi to end?’ It wasn’t easy, believe me.”
When asked what his initial reaction to the pic was when he first saw it, Hamill admitted that he wasn’t sure what to make of it.
“I saw [the film] once by ourselves in a screening room, and I didn’t know what to think. Then the next time I saw it, I liked it better. And I saw it a total of four times, and it got better each time!”
Finally, he noted that he thinks The Last Jedi is only proving to be this controversial because it pushed the envelope in so many ways.
But see, we didn’t have social media back in those days. In other words, I think Empire would have been just as controversial at that time, because it wasn’t a redo of the first one. And I think that’s the challenge now. You have to deliver what people want in a Star Wars film, but push the envelope. Offer them some surprises. [The Last] Jedi certainly did that.
Now simmering just above $1.3 billion, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been a massive success for Lucasfilm – even if it’s fallen just short of expectations. You can blame the sequel’s dismal performance in China for that one, after it was pulled from nearly all theaters in its third week of release.