Rian Johnson Dreaded Killing Luke In Star Wars: The Last Jedi


“This is not going to go the way you think!”

That’s Luke Skywalker there, desperately trying to warn Rey on the Jedi Temple of Ahch-To. But in many ways, it feels as though that pertinent quote is also directed at the Star Wars fanbase, given The Last Jedi delivers more story twists and emotional wallops than the last several movies combined.

If nothing else, Rian Johnson’s somewhat contentious sequel has left us mulling over a series of questions, including the ramifications of [spoiler]’s death, how [redacted] will play into Star Wars: Episode IX, and the ultimate fate of our favorite porg (AKA Chewie’s co-pilot).

On a more serious note, though, Johnson has now addressed what’s undoubtedly the sequel’s most controversial moment – killing off Luke Skywalker. Speaking to The Huffington Post, the director revealed that he wasn’t looking forward to ending the character’s arc that way and kind of dreaded it, even if he felt like it was the right thing to do.

“When I realized that that’s where Luke was going to get to by the end of the movie, and when I realized this was gonna be an emotionally rich arc for him, it seemed like if there was a time to give him his moment, this would be it,” said Johnson. “I wasn’t looking forward to it. I was kind of dreading it, but at the same time it felt like the right moment. It felt like the right time in this trilogy.”

Further in the interview, the filmmaker explained a bit more about what the thinking was behind those final scenes:

“I don’t want to get too explicit, because I like people being able to have their own interpretations,” said Johnson, “but I think definitely the act of what he does at the end literally just takes everything out of him. That’s a huge thing. Also … he’s having his final act be something of myth-making in a way.”

Despite how much debate it’s inspiring at the moment, we’re confident that one day, The Last Jedi is going to be considered in the same breath as The Empire Strikes Back as the very pinnacle of Star Wars quality, and the note-perfect send off to Luke Skywalker is a huge part of that. It might be a long shot, but we’re also hopeful that Hamill’s faith in Rian Johnson is rewarded with at least a couple of nods come awards season. He gave a tremendous performance in the film and deserves to be recognized for it.

Even if he isn’t, though, no one can deny that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a meticulously crafted sequel that helps accelerate Lucasfilm’s franchise toward a bright future, one in which the galaxy’s fate now rests on the shoulders of Rey, not Hamill’s Jedi Master.