Luke Skywalker has seen better days.
Since Return of the Jedi, the exiled Jedi Master has ostensibly become a permanent resident on Ahch-To, the far-flung aquatic planet that’s believed to be the site of the first Jedi Temple – hence Luke’s decision to relocate. But Mark Hamill’s Star Wars mainstay is no coward, and rumor has it that Luke’s exile has something to do with Kylo Ren (AKA Ben Solo), who tore down the Jedi Academy and slaughtered his fellow students/padawans in cold blood.
All of this leads us to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and though Mark Hamill was initially taken aback by how Rian Johnson and his team envisioned Luke Skywalker’s arc, the actor is adamant that his Tatooine farm boy won’t succumb to the dark side in December.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices. It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t an evil version of him. But it’s still an incarnation of the character I never expected. It has pulled me out of my comfort zone. It’s a real challenge.
It’s certainly an interesting angle to take; Luke Skywalker may have his flaws, but it’s fair to say that our brooding hero was once a force for good in Lucasfilm’s galaxy far, far away. So by teasing Luke’s jaded outlook and moral ambiguity (“it’s time for the Jedi…to end”), Rian Johnson has flipped expectations on their head, which is an achievement in and of itself for a franchise as big as Star Wars.
The Skywalker saga officially continues this December with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and if those early reports hold true, it’ll seemingly end with a major cliffhanger in anticipation of the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode IX. So not unlike Empire Strikes Back, then.