To cleanse the palate, a nifty find from the A.V. Club in the “Dinner for Five” archives. Skip to 11:49 of the clip below for the key bit. That is indeed Mark Hamill pitching the idea of Luke turning to the Dark Side to the man who’d eventually be chosen to direct “The Force Awakens.” As it so happens, one rich vein of Internet chatter since the new trailer debuted on Monday night is — ta da — that Luke has turned to the Dark Side. Why that idea’s caught on isn’t clear but it probably has something to do with Hamill’s conspicuous absence from the promotional stuff, plus that mysterious, sinister shot of a man in a cloak with a bionic hand reaching out to touch R2-D2. Why would Abrams and Disney be holding back on Hamill’s big reveal when they’ve been eager to show off Harrison Ford? There must be a reason. And there’s one obvious explanation that would give them that reason. Luke is breaking bad.
Except … there’s no way. It’s too obvious, too repetitive, and too vast a betrayal of the original trilogy. Obvious: If you were looking to do something different with the character of Luke Skywalker, the ultimate innocent unspoiled hero, the laziest, least imaginative move you could make would be to implement the ol’ Face-Heel Turn (to borrow wrestling parlance). Nothing would mindfark a world of Star Wars fanboys harder than that, except maybe implementing a Face-Heel Turn for Han Solo, which is why it can’t be done. Everyone would be looking for it. That’s why there are Internet rumors swirling this week. Repetitive: We’ve already seen the innocent unspoiled hero turn to the Dark Side, right? That was … the plot of Episodes I, II, and III. (Yes, sorry to remind you but those episodes exist. You watched all of them. Multiple times.) The only thing that could make the prequels more depressing at this point is revisiting the same general story arc with a superior character, raising the question of why we had to endure those three movies in the first place. And unlike Anakin, who ended the prequels as the archvillain Darth Vader, there’s no way, no how, no chance that Luke is going to depart from the “Star Wars” universe as a Sith. If he turns Sith, it’s a mortal lock that he will un-turn, just like his old man, in a future movie. Everyone will be looking for that too. Zzzzz. Betrayal: Luke Skywalker didn’t sacrifice his aunt and uncle, his right hand, and ultimately his dad to the project of resisting the Dark Side only to cave and reconsider after “Return of the Jedi.” His fortitude in defying the Emperor despite the temptation of supreme power is his singular virtue. Having him turn Sith would be like finding an apocryphal text in which Jesus, bored in Heaven, decides to give Satan a shot after all. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t tell that story with that person without immolating everything that was ennobling about him in the first place. There’s just no way to make Luke a baddie, even temporarily, without irritating everyone, I think. Especially if Hamill’s conjecture here comes true about Luke targeting … Han Solo.
Exit question: How would you have felt about this week’s new trailer if they had edited out the few seconds of Harrison Ford and the Millennium Falcon? The battle scenes look nifty but there’s a distinct Attack-of-the-Clones vibe somewhere there that seems ominous to me — or would have seemed ominous if not for the implied promise in Ford’s cameo that this is somehow going to be as awesome as the original trilogy was. I hope for his sake that it is. If his final appearances as Indiana Jones and Han Solo both end up stinking, American movie fans will be totally traumatized.