We Should Be Worried About Luke Skywalker
While this new era of Star Wars has produced two movies in the franchise and what feels like a decade of news, we still haven't actually seen more than a few seconds of its hero, Luke Skywalker, on film. That's a lot of anticipation on top of the 32 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
But, as we've found so far in Episode Seven, it hasn't exactly been a happy ending since the Rebels defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor. Han and Leia had a messy split and their son Kylo Ren went to the dark side—eventually killing his own father. Luke fled to an unknown planet after his pupil, Ren, turned to the dark side. Yeah, everything is a total mess.
That's including Luke Skywalker. His voice returned in the trailer for the upcoming Last Jedi, and he sounded depressed as hell.
"The fact that Luke says, 'I only know one truth. It's time for the Jedi to end…' I mean, that's a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films," Mark Hamill told Entertainment Weekly last month. "When I first read it, my jaw dropped. What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That's not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing."
As Hamill told the Associated Press in a new interview last Wednesday:
"Luke changed, I think, more than the other characters in the original trilogy, from callow farm boy to a Jedi in training to finally a Jedi master. What you're talking about is what really fascinated me. Between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens, there's just decades of history that's unknown. So I was wondering how they're going to handle all this. Now, obviously, with Force Awakens, J.J. (Abrams) had a full plate. It was inevitable that they would push me down the line. I was sorry I wasn't able to work with any of the original actors again. But it's not about us anymore. In this new one, I was saying to Rian Johnson: I need to know my backstory. It was kind of unclear. You read where he is now and what he's doing now and sort of have to fill in the blanks for yourself. So I did do a backstory myself. It's not about Luke anymore, so it's not really important. But I had to make sense of it for myself. What Rian came up with, I was stunned."
All early reports describe the new Luke Skywalker as "broken," as someone who's running despite his friends and family being in danger. But, if something went wrong at his Jedi academy, if his star student went to the dark side, is it possible Luke has been tempted by the dark side again, and, unable to defeat it, ran from it? Looking at early images of Luke from The Last Jedi, despite the tan robes we see in the end of The Force Awakens, he certainly doesn't look the way the series typically depicts good characters. This is a franchise that has very little subtlety between good and bad. Good guys wear white and have green/blue lightsabers. Bad guys wear black and have red lightsabers. Yet, here's Luke Skywalker wearing dark, mostly gray clothing. Then there's this new image of Luke, which Hamill shared last Thursday, showing the character in what traditionally looks like Sith robes.
But, rather than go to the dark side, is it possible he's become disillusioned with the light side of the force? There is the idea of the Gray Force, which fans have discussed at length for years. Certainly, this could make for an interesting twist for the remaining two films.
Regardless, after teasing fans for years, Disney and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson better have come up with something worth the wait.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.