Writer-director Rian Johnson has opened up about being confronted by Mark Hamill in a “terrifying” exchange over the way he’d written Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – in cinemas now.
Hamill discussed the clash in an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this year saying, “I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character.'”
Talking to Yahoo Movies, Johnson applauded Hamill’s honesty while conceding the confrontation was actually pretty scary.
“Mark is very, very open [laughs], and it was terrifying,” Johnson says in our exclusive interview above.
“But it was also really good. First of all, Mark’s had thirty years to imagine what the return of this character would be like, there’s no way it was going to line up exactly with what I wrote. And also what I wrote, Luke’s in a very different place than he was in the original trilogy, and I thought he had to be in this movie.”
At the end of Return of the Jedi, Jedi master Luke Skywalker was the hero of the Rebellion having defeated the Emperor and Darth Vader, bringing peace to the galaxy. From The Force Awakens, we know that peace was short-lived, and in The Last Jedi we find Luke in self-exposed exile and let’s just say he’s not too keen to return to the great struggle between good and evil. In fact, he’s a bit of a grumpy old git.
Hamill tells us it was the idea of Luke giving up the fight that caused friction with Johnson.
“I thought it was highly original,” explains Hamill, “But I said ‘Rian, a Jedi doesn’t give up. Period. End of story. If he does something wrong, he doubles down and he makes it right’.
“But for the purposes of that story [in The Last Jedi], that’s not what Rian wanted to do.”
Eventually the pair came to a mutual understanding, with the 66-year-old Star Wars veteran clearing the air and agreeing to do his best “to realise [Rian’s] vision.”
“I think it ended up really adding to the depth of the character that ended up on screen,” Johnson concludes.
It begs the question then: What had Hamill imagined for Luke Skywalker after all these years?
“I’m not in charge of story,” he said, “Otherwise Luke would be have a beautiful wife and not be living on an island without room service!”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in cinemas now.