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Mark Hamill reveals the backstory he created for Luke Skywalker in
Star Wars: The Last Jedi and it couldn’t be more tragic. Outside of his small appearances at the end of The Force Awakens and in Rey’s vision, fans haven’t seen Luke in a long time. Since Return of the Jedi , there’s all sorts of backstory for the character that’s only been teased in various books and comics, many of which are no longer canon. When The Last Jedi hits theaters, audiences will finally learn more about what the Jedi has been up to all these years.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will have a lot on its plate, meaning only so much time and story can be dedicated to fleshing out Luke’s history after the defeat of the Empire. Some elements of that plot will be essential to the origin of Kylo Ren and the evolution of Rey, but a lot more will be left up to future media to fill in. While fans may not learn all of what Luke has been doing over the past few decades, the character will display an emotional intensity that speaks to his long years in isolation.
EW spoke to Hamill about where Luke is at in Star Wars: The Last Jedi , and the actor revealed that he did a lot of work to fill in the Jedi’s backstory. Actors often come up with a history for their character to fill in emotional gaps and help them better understand their character, and Hamill is no different:
“I wrote lots and lots of scenarios. 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.”
Naturally, none of this is canon, but it does add a fascinating layer to Hamill’s performance. While the actor has worked a lot in the years since he last played Luke, audiences haven’t had a chance to see him fully inhabit his most iconic role in a long time. For Hamill, this marked an opportunity to bring something from the real world into his performance:
“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 idea of channeling gun violence into Luke’s history makes sense for an actor who has avidly spoken out for progressive causes and humanitarian issues. Given the themes of Star Wars, Hamill’s addition to his character’s emotional state certainly fits. Luke’s wife and child may not be canon, but that doesn’t mean Hamill didn’t square the concept with writer/director Rian Johnson when it came time to make sure it would be tonally consistent with the film:
“I sort of tested out some of my ideas just to make sure I wasn’t in conflict with anything. [Rian Johnson] 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.”
Hamill’s backstory for Luke may never be incorporated into the franchise canon, but it should certainly help audiences further feel the tragic weight of the character’s return in Star Wars: The Last Jedi .