The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has shared his arguments with Mark Hamill over the character of Luke Skywalker, saying the actor doesn’t own the character. It won’t shock anyone to learn that The Last Jedi is one of the most controversial Star Wars films. The sci-fi film divided critics and audiences alike, and one of the film’s most controversial aspects was the direction it took Luke Skywalker’s story.
The space adventure film surprised audiences with the plotline that Luke had become disconnected from the force, after failing to rebuild the Jedi Order and allowing Kylo Ren to turn to the dark side. It is well known that Hamill himself was unconvinced by the direction of the plot, and after 40 years of portraying the famous Star Wars character, he initially believed that the direction Johnson wanted to take was the bad.
Now, the Star Wars movie director has reflected on the experience again, focusing particularly on that conflict with Hamill and how the movie handled Luke Skywalker’s story.
Speaking to Empire Magazine (via Screen Rant), Johnson said, “I choose my words carefully, not to be diplomatic, but I don’t want to frame Mark’s experience of [The Last Jedi] through my lens because there’s no way I could ever put myself in Mark’s shoes.
He continued: “If Mark Hamill talks to me about Luke Skywalker, I’m going to listen to him, and I have to think about it and argue with him and go back and forth. And truly plumb the depths of my soul and what I’ve written and determine if it feels right. Also, though, remembering that obviously he created the character onscreen, but he’s Mark Hamill, he’s not literally Luke Skywalker. Luke Skywalker lives as a creation on this screen. It’s a myth.
Johnson’s explanation of the conflict between him and Hamill goes to the heart of the interesting concept of ownership. Does Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker for most of his life, own Luke? Do Star Wars fans own the character? Or, in fact, is it George Lucas?
Johnson’s view is that Luke Skywalker and his story are a myth that belongs to no one, not even Hamill. Because, in the director’s own words, Mark Hamill is not Luke Skywalker.
Whatever your opinion of Johnson’s comments, it’s hard to argue with the idea that the director has taken Star Wars and made it more challenging than it has been in years. Part of that was down to the way it treated Luke and while The Last Jedi has plenty of flaws, Luke Skywalker’s story direction isn’t one of them.
If you’re desperate for a break from Star Wars, why not swap the genres and check out our guide to the best fantasy movies of all time.