An Early Star Wars Image Proves Luke Skywalker's Twist in The Last Jedi Was Planned From the Beginning
Star Wars: The Last Jedi finally revealed an older and wiser Luke Skywalker decades after we last saw him in Return of the Jedi. His returned was teased throughout The Force Awakens, with director J.J. Abrams making fans wait for the second entry in the new trilogy to see the character's face. But, when Rey travels to find Luke Skywalker in his exile in The Last Jedi, she finds a man much different from the hero we remember.
Luke is a darker character. He's no longer that bright-eyed boy on Tatooine. After getting betrayed by one of his students, Luke cut himself off from the Force. He went into exile, abandoning the hubris of the Jedi, and leaving the Resistance to fight the First Order on their own.
Since the film was released, The Last Jedi has become one of the most polarizing entries in the franchise to date, with fans taking issue specifically with this grumpy, older Luke Skywalker. Many argue that Luke never would have changed this much-that he would remain a hopeful, passionate child well through adulthood. Luke, they argue, would exist in some creepy stage of arrested development-never maturing or growing out of young adulthood (sound familiar?).
These fans largely blame Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed The Last Jedi, for fundamentally-and incorrectly-altering the beloved character.
However, a new early image from Christian Alzmann, a concept design supervisor at Lucasfilm, shows this darker Luke Skywalker had been planned well before The Force Awakens.
On his Instagram, Alzmann posted a picture of a concept design of Luke Skywalker with the caption: "My first image I made for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This was January of 2013. Luke was being described as a Col. Kurtz type hiding from the world in a cave. I couldn’t believe I was getting to make this image and I got a George 'Fabulouso' on it to boot."
This image was, of course, made long before The Force Awakens was released in 2015, when, even that early, writers were comparing Luke Skywalker to Marlon Brando's iconic character from Apocalypse Now. Kurtz, as you'll remember from the Francis Ford Coppola classic, was a brutal and ruthless leader who went insane while isolated in the jungle of Cambodia. Given this description, writers had originally intended Skywalker to be much darker than what we ended up seeing in The Last Jedi. Also, what's interesting about Alzmann's post is George Lucas also weighed in on, and approved, this depiction of Skywalker.
This should work as unequivocal proof to haters that Rian Johnson's depiction of Luke Skywalker was not a massive screw up, but a complex character arc that had been planned from the beginning.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.