After Star Wars: The Last Jedi fundamentally changed the course of the franchise going forward, Mark Hamill has been a chatterbox about the things he likes about the movie and what parts he had reservations about. In an interview with GamesRadar, Hamill expresses fondness toward the epilogue with the Force-sensitive stable boy, and he also clarifies some details on some earlier comments he made regarding whether or not he’ll return for Star Wars Episode IX and what surprised him about Supreme Leader Snoke.
First up are more of Hamill’s thoughts on The Last Jedi, now that the film’s on Blu-Ray and he’s seen it a few times. While there have been no shortages of criticisms for the film, which (online, at least) is probably the most heated Star Wars movie to talk about online since the days when The Phantom Menace hit theaters, one that Hamill personally didn’t understand is why so many people were upset that Supreme Leader Snoke got iced without there being real exposition about who he was:
“I relate to the fans because I’m a fan myself. I understand that they have a deep investment, a sense of ownership, because I do too and the problem is, you just can’t please everyone… I was surprised everyone was so upset that they got rid of Snoke. From Rian’s point of view, it was a big favorite for [Episode IX] because he’s not important. It clears the deck to have the conflict between Kylo and Rey without him getting in the way and having to explain if he’s a clone or if he’s related to Palpatine – all that stuff.”
In some respects, it’s more interesting to see where the story goes with Kylo Ren taking up the mantle of Supreme Leader, and with the Emperor-Disciple dynamic destroyed in the film, Episode IX arguably has more directions that it can go in.
Hamill also expressed a particular fondness for the final scene of the movie, which more or less encapsulates Luke’s ultimate victory in The Last Jedi: not only was he able to give the Galaxy hope once again, but he was also able to ensure that the next generation of Jedi will be able to have someone to look up to:
“What I love particularly was – and they didn’t have to do this because the movie’s over – all of a sudden you cut to the stable and there’s that little boy, he puts out his hand and the broom comes to him. It’s so subtle, the first time I saw it I thought he just took it, but if you look he puts his hand out and it moves over for him, implying that yeah, she’s [Rey’s] the last Jedi… until the next Jedi. It’ll go on forever, believe me. Long after both of us are gone they’ll be making these films from here into eternity.”
The scene itself, I feel, is one of the most notable subtle moments in the Star Wars series, and to me it added a lot more to the ending than it would have if the movie just ended with the Millennium Falcon flying off to an uncertain – though hopeful – future. Because with this one kid, in this one, relatively-insignificant moment, we know that the Jedi will never die.
Lastly, there was the matter of a possible return as Luke in Star Wars Episode IX, which Hamill is still weighing out his options on. Playing off of earlier comments he made to ABC, Hamill explained that he’s perfectly fine if the story doesn’t need Luke going forward, knowing that the heroes of the Original Trilogy have all passed on by the time the trilogy-capper will take place:
“I haven’t really thought about [Episode IX] because there’s such a sense of closure, Luke’s story is told. What more can I do? And you know, you have to start disconnecting from it emotionally. The main thing [that shocked me in Star Wars: The Force Awakens] was – Han Solo is killed! I’ll never get to work with Harrison again. Luke will never see Han again. That’s what struck me, that was the first break, we lost a member of the band. And then what happened with Luke [in The Last Jedi], I said ‘Okay, that’s the next link’ when I was still thinking I’ll come back as a Force ghost. And then to lose Carrie in real life, I said ‘That’s it’. They say you can never go home again, and that for me was the real indication that it’s time to move on.”
Again, it’s worth noting that Hamill is likely on contract for three Star Wars movies when he signed on for the Sequel Trilogy and it’s likely that he’ll at least appear in a cameo role in Episode IX. Given that J. J. Abrams really, really wanted to do dialogue for the character, that the ending of the film so perfectly sets him up for a ghostly return, and that there’s still a chance that Luke could use the Force to turn the tide of the final battle from beyond, I honestly think that there’s no way that Disney will leave the one actor of the original trio that could return out of the film.
A more pragmatic part of me thinks it’s entirely possible that Hamill might be negotiating for a bigger paycheck for the closing chapter of the Skywalker Saga. But we’ll likely find out one way or another in a few months, when cast list for Episode IX has been revealed. (He still hasn’t shaved that contractually-obligated beard that he doesn’t like all that much, so fingers crossed!)