You mean Mark Hamill didn’t like having his signature heroic character end up as a guy hiding out from the universe and dying alone? Go figure. With anger and scorn bubbling up from the fanbase over Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the first Jedi (so to speak) says he sympathizes with them while reminding them that it wasn’t his choice. However, it might be just desserts for his generation, Hamill says:
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) June 28, 2018
IGN wrote about Hamill’s cognitive dissonance in working with the new crew from Disney earlier this week:
Hamill’s own confusion – how did Luke get here? – is a question that’s hung over the sequel trilogy. While the iconography of New Star Wars feels familiar – the brassy blasts of score, the eyebrow-raised quips, the wobble of latex on an alien extra – Star Wars’ greatest actual icon suddenly feels so different.
In fact, the Luke actor has been famously unsure, even critical of that shift, and clearly still has conflicting emotions on the subject: “It was a radical change, but I think sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing […] Although a part of me said to Rian, ‘but you know, a Jedi would never give up’. My concept of the character was that even if I chose the New Hitler thinking he was the New Hope, yeah I’d feel terrible, but I wouldn’t secret myself on an island and then turn off the Force.”
Remember, this is the same character who offered himself up as a sacrifice to redeem Darth Frickin’ Vader in the original trilogy. Not only did Luke not hide on an island off the coast of Ireland to escape the Force once he found out Vader was his dad, he doubled down on his resolve and seriousness to master the Force to rescue him from it. Thirty years later, he’s a washed-up, bitter defeatist hermit? Come on, man.
On the other hand, Hamill sees this as a metaphor for the failure of the Peace And Love Generation:
“It is tragic. I’m not a method actor, but one of the techniques a method actor will use is to try and use real-life experiences to relate to whatever fictional scenario he’s involved in. The only thing I could think of, given the screenplay that I read, was that I was of the Beatles generation – ‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘peace and love’.
“I thought at that time, when I was a teenager: ‘By the time we get in power, there will be no more war, there will be no racial discrimination, and pot will be legal.’ So I’m one for three. When you think about it, [my generation is] a failure. The world is unquestionably worse now than it was then.”
Well, that’s certainly one theory. A better theory is that the writing stinks, a theory which John certainly endorses. Hamill calls himself “old school George Lucas,” but it’s not at all clear that Lucas would have done any better with the sequel trilogy than he did with the prequels. In fact, ScreenRant pointed out earlier this month that Lucas was prepared to double down on one of the lamest parts of the prequel trilogy:
Lucas has always stressed that he would have avoided telling a nostalgic tale with the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, and instead would have told a brand new story. We recently learned just how strange and unusual that story would have been. Lucas described his vision like this:
“[My sequel trilogy] were going to get into the microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the one who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.”
The Prequel Trilogy introduced the idea of midichlorians, microscopic life-forms that tie an individual to the Force. As Qui-Gon Jinn explained it, “Without the midichlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.” It was one of the most controversial aspects of the prequels, with many viewers feeling this added an unnecessary layer of science-fiction to the mystical realm of the Force. It seems that Lucas intended to double-down on the idea, though, diving into “the microbiotic world”. At the same time, notice that Lucas doesn’t suggest that the entire story would have centered on this concept, so it’s important not to overstate the importance of this; it would have been one plot element in an entire trilogy of films.
In Lucas’ view, not every fan would have approved of this approach. “Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it,” he noted, “just like they did Phantom Menace and everything.” Given how unpopular the midichlorians were in the Prequel Trilogy, he’s probably right.
Out: Luke is a bitter hermit waiting for death. In: Luke is a microbiologist speaking to the midichlorians about … George Harrison, maybe? Singing I Get By With A Little Help From Midichlorians with Jar-Jar Binks?
Hamill’s definitely correct about one thing: he was at the mercy of writers. So have we all been, since about the point in Return of the Jedi put teddy bears on screen. The generation of Star Wars since that point has been largely a failure, with only a couple of bright spots (Rogue One) to show us what might have been. These have never been the sequels we were looking for, alas.