EW: How Mark Hamill Mentally Bridged the 30 Year Gap for Luke in The Last Jedi

As we inch closer to the opening of The Last Jedi, we are reaching the point where no new reveals are needed, our appetites are satisfied, and we are ready to see the movie. That brings us to a perfect piece by Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican who takes us back in time, not forward, delving into the “head-canon” of Mark Hamill to validate Luke’s current frame of mind.


In one of the more unique and off the beaten path stories pertaining to The Last Jedi, Entertainment Weekly‘s Anthony Breznican (who was a guest on our podcast The Resistance Broadcast today) spoke with Mark Hamill about how he mentally filled the 30 year gap that bridged Luke between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi.



The backstory Hamill developed to help him get into Luke’s current exiled state-of-mind is not a part of Lucasfilm’s canon narrative at all, it was simply devised by the actor to help him channel a version of Luke he was unfamiliar with, so in a sense he had an open canvas:

“Actors like backstories. They want to know motivation and all those things, and it’s such a blank slate,” says Hamill, who has become so entwined with the character over four decades that he sometimes references himself and Luke interchangeably. “You know, if you look at it intellectually, I realized that it’s not my story anymore and so what [Luke] did or did not do in the intervening years aren’t really important to the audience at this point, but I have to work it out for myself.”


Here is the video of Breznican talking about Luke and his unexpected new frame of mind in The Last Jedi:



So Hamill grabbed his paint brush, his pallet, and hit the canvas, creating a backstory for himself. What he came up with is pretty wild, and pretty heartbreaking, but please remember, this is not a part of the official story, just his way of coming to terms with Luke being in such a distraught place:

“I wrote lots and lots of scenarios,” Hamill says. “I made notes that he fell in love with a woman who was a widow and had this young child. He left the Jedi to raise this young child and marry this woman, and the child got hold of a lightsaber and accidentally killed himself. It’s nothing to do with the story, but when I think about gun violence and you read these tragic stories of kids getting hold of their parents’ guns and killing a sibling or themselves, I mean, I had to go to really dark places to get where Luke needed to be for this story,” the actor says.



Breznican points out that although this scenario is not a part of the story, Hamill wanted to check-in with director Rian Johnson to make sure the feelings created by this type of backstory paralleled where Luke needed to be in the film.

“I sort of tested out some of my ideas just to make sure I wasn’t in conflict with anything,” Hamill says. “He was really nurturing in that regard, encouraging me to find ways to justify the actions in this movie. But like I say, that little story I told about Luke leaving the Jedi and getting married, that’s not officially what happens.”



A look inside the mind of Mark Hamill, clearly not mailing in a late-career performance for a paycheck, and as Breznican aptly puts it:

If Star Wars fans think Mark Hamill was being unduly harsh with his character, take heart in this — the actor cares so much about Luke that he’s creating his own legends.


The Last Jedi hits theaters in just 10 days! Now every time you see Luke on screen, if you didn’t already know, you will be reminded of how much Mark Hamill put into his performance.



SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly



You can find me on Twitter @JohnnyHoey and as mentioned above we had Anthony Breznican on our official podcast The Resistance Broadcast today!


“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”



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John Hoey is the Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast

"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."

John Hoey

John Hoey is the Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."

44 thoughts on “EW: How Mark Hamill Mentally Bridged the 30 Year Gap for Luke in The Last Jedi

  • December 5, 2017 at 1:06 am

    What does he mean “It’s not my story any more.” The opening crawl to TFA was LUKE SKYWALKER HAS VANISHED. He was the plot device to the movie (Resistance & First Order were both looking for him). And the sequel The Last Jedi refers to LUKE SKYWALKER!

    • December 5, 2017 at 1:48 am

      I think he’s talking about him as Mark Hamill (the actor), no longer being tied to the character of Luke Skywalker. I think Hamill placed a lot of his own identity into Luke in the original trilogy, and this is him saying that Luke is different from him now. It’s no longer his story, it’s Luke’s story.

      • December 5, 2017 at 6:51 am

        That was my interpretation as well.

      • December 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

        No. He means it is not Luke’s story. It is Rey’s story. These 3 movies are fundamentally about her arc, Not Luke’s. He’s obviously an important part of her story. And an important character in the new film. But, like Han or Obi wan, it not his story. He was a maguffin in TFA and now in TLJ he is a catalyst, a crossroads for Rey’s story. Hamill is saying what happened between Jedi and TFA isn’t important to Rey’s story. It’s only important for him as an actor to have some arbitrary backstory in order to have proper emotional context to effectively portray Luke skywalker as he has been written by RJ.

        • December 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

          Rey’s story or Kylo’s?

          After all the episodes are still the Skywalker Saga. Problem is we’re getting very mixed messages on who the focus is upon. Clearly it is in truth Rey’s, but how can this be if its the Skywalker saga?

          • December 5, 2017 at 9:48 pm

            Well a story doesnt need only one focus. it’s all connected. thus far it’s Rey as the protagonist, ren as the antagonist. Perhaps they will switch. But Luke will now presumably be in the middle of them. with Finn & Poes stories as background subplots.

    • December 5, 2017 at 3:09 am

      I think the Last Jedi is Luke’s story in the same sense that the original was the story of Vader’s redemption. It was the idea that all the events pivot around, but its not the focus of the plot. I think luke’s return to the galaxy will sway the destiny of all parties involved, but in terms of screen time everything is told through the lens of it being rey’s journey

      • December 5, 2017 at 4:44 am

        Or how in ANH the story revolves around the plans to destroy the Death Star, but the story is about Luke becoming a Jedi and a member of the rebellion

    • December 5, 2017 at 6:08 am

      I see Luke in this ST as Ben Kenobi and Yoda were in the OT.

    • December 5, 2017 at 8:22 am

      “It’s not my story anymore” is a very refreshing thing to hear. I hope TLJ finally establishes Rey & Co as the leads of this trilogy and not overshadowed by celebrities of the past.

    • December 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Did you watch The Force Awakens? Being a plot device doesn’t mean the movie is your story. Was ANH the story of R2-D2? No, but he was the plot device.
      Luke was the Macguffin. The story was Rey’s and Finn’s. Luke will play a big role in this one, but like Yoda did in Empire. This is Rey’s story.

      • December 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm


  • December 5, 2017 at 1:18 am

    While I think we’ll get a good movie, I fear for Luke…

    • December 5, 2017 at 3:23 am

      Me too. Luke of Legends was a hero, powerful, and awesome. Luke of the new Cannon seems weak, a feeble old stump who let basic dark spiders destroy his will to fight.

      • December 5, 2017 at 6:14 am

        I think that is what they want us to think. I mean Luke even said on one of the interviews “i’m only in my fifties”. I bet this trilogy ends with look starting a jedi acadamy.

      • December 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm

        Depends on which EU story you read. It differed so much from book to book, which was a problem.

      • December 14, 2017 at 6:41 am

        So it turns out, he just shut himself from the force, the power was still there 😀

  • December 5, 2017 at 1:32 am

    how would people feel if the princess sent luke a hologram message like the one she sent ben? “years ago you helped during our defeat of the empire now i ask you to help again, help me Luke you are my only hope”

    • December 5, 2017 at 3:22 am

      I’d give up, it’d be the last straw. I’d think we have the most unoriginal writers ever doing these and it stinks.

      • December 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

        HA it would be brutal wouldn’t it

  • December 5, 2017 at 2:13 am

    His keenness for such prep work as an actor “warms my heart”, as a little green Jedi Master once said.

    • December 5, 2017 at 3:27 am

      He actually resembles George Lucas in that picture.

    • December 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      More than anything I’m glad he got his health back in order. Dude has added years back to his life.

  • December 5, 2017 at 4:54 am

    This really really confuses me… How would Luke’s past have nothing to do with where he is now? Isn’t it pretty obvious that the reason he is secluded and forlorn and ‘grumpy’ because of his failure with Ben and his training and the massacre that ensued? That he has lost faith in the Jedi’s and the good vs evil constant struggle? I don’t get how Mark would have to make up some kind of story on why he’d be there? Am I missing something?

    • December 5, 2017 at 5:37 am

      Technically not. JJ didn’t really have any answers to that, and Rian Johnson said that he could basically create whatever story he wanted for that, and this just confirms that no story was decided on. Luke was just ‘not here’ in TFA, they’d figure out why later.

      We assume it has to deal with the jedi temple being destroyed and the students massacred, but Han’s explanation and the flashes from Rey’s vision could be interpreted in a number of ways.

    • December 5, 2017 at 6:12 am

      I have another theory.

      What if he fought Snoke, jacked him up pretty good, which is why he is the way he is, but was not strong enough to defeat him.

      Knowing he had to get stronger, and to prevent Snoke from sensing him in the force (like Vader did in Jedi), and endangering the resistance, he went into hiding.

      I mean after all, he did leave a map.

      • December 5, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        He didn’t “leave” a map. The map is to the first Jedi temple.

    • December 5, 2017 at 7:15 am

      I think you have to think about what Hamill was trying to accomplish. He wasn’t writing a script; he was looking for a way to relate to a version of Luke he had never imagined. Mark Hamill is not a Jedi whose nephew turned on him and his students, so those story elements alone might not work for him as an actor trying to create a character. Instead he created a personal backstory that draws upon real-life situations that are more relatable to him. In this case he swapped a gun for a lightsaber in order draw upon the feeling of losing a child due to a horrible tragedy (plus the guilt of his negligence) to find a way into the mind of the post-academy Luke.

    • December 5, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      yes, that is the real question, isn’t it !

    • December 5, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Yes, you are missing the movie that you haven’t seen

  • December 5, 2017 at 9:46 am

    With Hamill in a really great professional and physical moment, I think we need a SW story or two filling those 30 years (after Aftermath novels), and not make the same mistake to fill the previous ages of ANH. Now we have a chance, why don’t make a couple of movies between ROTJ and TFA? It’s an interesting time to explain some backstory from Luke and Jedi order.
    BTW interesting notes from Hamill about that child.

    • December 5, 2017 at 10:20 am

      The Aftermath novels were such crap, they should be dragged out into the street and shot. Chuck Wendig’s writing makes Kevin J. Anderson’s look like Dostoevsky.

  • December 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Ooooh, that last pic of Luke above…. I think it has a blurry Leia in the foreground ! Yay !!

    • December 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      I think you’re right! One could argue that she is just visiting the set and isn’t in the scene with him there, but let’s be honest. She probably wouldn’t do it dressed up and hair made up.

  • December 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Dang… Mark went pretty dark to find his connection to current Luke. I like it!

  • December 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I love Disney and most of their work over the years, but so many of their films have weak-willed, foolish, ineffective older males/father-figures. So I hope they have not turned Luke into one of these weaklings who has to now be redeemed by Rey, or is old (and somehow therefore completely ineffective). In the trailers It’s bad enough already to see the noble, newly-powerful, confident figure Luke was at the end of Return of the Jedi turned into a cranky, disillusioned, Porg-eating hermit. In an effort to be “deep”, so many directors nowadays seem to feel the need to mix the good and evil so that it becomes indistinguishable (ahem,Avengers), and to beat the drum that anyone in a position of authority who is older is necessarily corrupt, or disillusioned, or wrong-headed, or in need of redemption, etc. What’s wrong with giving us an idealistic, heroic Luke? Maybe not enough for the younger characters to do? Now let’s roast some Porgs on a spit over a roaring fire.

    • December 6, 2017 at 6:58 am

      I think that’s exactly what you are going to get. Rey helps Luke regain is faith/courage. Rose helps Finn regain whatever it is Finn’s looking for. Leia helps Poe become a leader.

      • December 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        Yes. Not that it matters now but george Lucas said he wanted this trilogy to be about passing on what you have learned.

  • December 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Luke’s been hiding-out at the local Burger King for 30 years. The End.

  • December 5, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    This is why actors shouldn’t be allowed to write official backstories for their characters.

  • December 6, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I’m just gonna throw this out there, luke gets blue saber back and his daughter will make a double ended saber like maul (but not red) in this or the next. its just so obvious in regards to her using a staff and looking uncomfortable with a sword

  • December 6, 2017 at 8:13 am

    After using the Force for 30 years Luke ended up with a severe case of haemorrhoids. Just look at his face in TFA… That man IS suffering!

  • December 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Mark Hamill is the master. And master jedi

Comments are closed.