Entertainment Weekly has been dumping a ton of exclusive photos and interviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi this week and while Disney is still keeping a lot of the plot details close to its chest, there are some interesting pull quotes interspersed throughout. In one of EW’s latest posts, Mark Hamill discusses Luke Skywalker’s frame of mind when we meet him in The Last Jedi and sheds some light on what he’s been up to since the events of Return of the Jedi.
According to Hamill, Luke’s exile is deeply rooted in his guilt over mistakes he made while trying to train his nephew, Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren, to become a Jedi Knight:
“[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late.”
For director Rian Johnson, filling in Luke’s backstory was one of his first big challenges in writing The Last Jedi:
“The very first step in the writing of this was figuring out why he’s on that island. We know that he is not a coward. He’s not just hiding because he’s scared. But we also know that he must know his friends are in danger. He must know the galaxy needs him. And he’s sitting on this island in the middle of nowhere. There had to be an answer. It had to be something where Luke Skywalker believes he’s doing the right thing – and the process of figuring out what that is and unpacking it is the journey for Rey.”
The biggest moment in The Last Jedi trailer comes when Luke drops a bombshell claim that “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” As it turns out, Luke’s change in attitude caught Hamill off-guard since he always viewed his character as a pillar of hope:
“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. 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.”
Will Luke remain in his pessimistic state or will Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) arrival help him see the light again? We’ll have to wait until Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 19. In the meantime, be sure to check out more of EW’s Last Jedi coverage.