Star Wars fans continue being down on Rian Johnson for taking The Last Jedi in bold new territory during the new 2010s trilogy. All fans assumed that this went against the vision of what George Lucas and the original cast members ever really wanted.
In truth, Mark Hamill was on board for wanting to go darker back to the Return of the Jedi days. Hamill says he wanted Lucas to take that final movie in a crazy new direction and have Luke go bad.
Hamill explained all this in a SiriusXM interview recently, something he seldom discusses. Fans could probably tell the indifference in explaining this incident, if still giving credit to Lucas’s creative hunches.
Mark Hamill thought Luke going bad was a logical ending
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When Hamill was preparing for Return of the Jedi in the early 1980s, he assumed Luke was going to turn to the dark side out of narrative logic. Reason being is that preliminary ideas had Luke wearing black, giving Hamill assumptions he would play the beloved Luke as evil. Plus, the working title was Revenge of the Jedi.
As Hamill explained to Heroic Hollywood, he interrogated Lucas about wanting to make Luke go dark. Lucas immediately nixed the idea by explaining that the Star Wars movies were being made for kids from an adult perspective. Hamill’s initial complaint was the ending of Return of the Jedi was just too pat and predictable for his taste.
Then Lucas made an interesting counter observation: “All fairy tales have pat endings”. This seemed to convince Hamill he should stay in his own lane and respect Lucas’s creative vision.
Nowadays, Hamill facetiously says this is why Lucas is where he is now and Hamill is where he is. Perhaps fans can argue it was just the Star Wars intrigue and lore making it billions of dollars rather than the pat ending really resonating.
Most fans might have embraced a Luke gone bad in 1983
Despite Lucas arguably setting the right path for the times, many Star Wars fans might have embraced Luke going bad in Return of the Jedi. Maybe it would have been a shock at first. Yet, the films were already known for bringing shockers like Darth Vader announcing he was Luke’s father.
Having Luke being redeemed would have been a likely outcome to appease concerned parents who were taking their kids to see the Star Wars movies. Going this direction also could have earlier changed the trajectory of how heroes are depicted in movies.
Antiheroes and explorations of the gray areas between good and evil are now the norm. Back in 1983, it would have been a little more revolutionary, if confusing for some.
Knowing Hamill was on board with an evil Luke may finally calm original trilogy fans who thought Rian Johnson ruined the saga with his new directions. It also changes the tide on Hamill supposedly being shocked at Johnson’s direction for Luke.
Was Mark Hamill sold on George Lucas’s pat endings?
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It seems Lucas convinced Hamill ending on a more positive note in Star Wars was always the best plan. Reports of Hamill disagreeing with Johnson’s daring directions for Luke may all fall back on Lucas’s own convincing stance 40 years ago.
Then again, because Hamill never shies away from something daring, maybe fans will see he always secretly wanted Luke to go in darker directions. More fans may also see that Johnson was taking from both sides where Luke was somewhere in the middle rather than turning completely to the Dark Side.
Complexity like this was just waiting to catch up with an evolved public who now demand more complex character development. Not that original trilogy fans will ever back down from realizing the original formula Lucas created should still be celebrated for what it was.