Star Wars: Mark Hamill Pitched Different Role for Luke in Force Awakens
Mark Hamill shares details of his Star Wars: The Force Awakens pitch that would've given Luke a very different arc in the film. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the 2015 film kicked off the sequel trilogy that continued in 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Rian Johnson. It introduced a new generation of heroes and villain inhabiting the beloved lore like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). It also bought back legacy characters led by Luke, Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). But while the latter two played a significant part in the story, the Jedi Master didn't come on screen until the very last seconds of the movie.
This obviously spawned a lot of questions that paved the way for The Last Jedi. After Rey found an isolated Luke in a self-imposed exile, Episode 8 devoted a chunk of its time in Ahch-To, where fans learned how much the beloved Jedi Master changed since they last saw him in Return of the Jedi. But if Hamill had his way, this wouldn't be how he would've wanted his character's arc to pan out as he reveals his The Force Awakens pitch that would've set Luke in a very different path.
Sitting down with THR for Awards Chatter podcast, the veteran actor got candid about his thoughts on what's gone down in the Star Wars main saga, and how his preferred The Force Awakens narrative would've fixed its biggest missed opportunity. According to Hamill, he would've wanted Luke to get in on the thick of things, allowing fans to see him, Leia and Han reunited on the big screen before everyone's favorite galactic smuggler was killed by his own son.
"Everyone talks about the shock of realizing that, on Force Awakens, I don't come in until the last page, a bigger shock to me was them killing Han Solo before Luke could ever see his best friend again. I mean, it might be selfishly motivated, but I said, 'Holy cow, that's a real missed opportunity.' Even having the three of us together, even briefly. I pitched Abrams on the idea of, 'You can still have me come in at the very end, but how about this. How about Leia's trying to contact me telepathically, she gets frustrated because there's no answers, so she rushes to the new Death Star.
"And she almost gets there but she gets stopped by two Stormtroopers and, just before she's abducted, one Stormtrooper turns to the other one, blows him away, pulls off his helmet and says "Hi, sis, I'm here to rescue you."' I say, 'It'll blow the roof off the joint, I'm still in it at the very end.'"
Hamill continued to explain how this would've added emotional weight on how Han was ruthlessly murdered by Kylo Ren with the Skywalker twins personally witnessing his death instead of Rey and Finn. Chewbacca was also there, and he had a primal reaction to seeing his best buddy killed, but the moment would've had a stronger impact if Luke and Leia were also there.
"I think it's more effective to have people that really have a history with Han Solo witness his death and be unable to stop it. His wife, the mother of his child, his best friend, instead of two characters that have known him, what, 20 minutes? But they get the keys to the kingdom, and they're the deciders, so you just have to live with it."
The pitch has a callback to A New Hope when Luke and Han saved an imprisoned Leia, kicking off their adventures together. And even if The Force Awakens pushed through with the death of Han, Hamill's pitch would've spun a significantly different Episode 8 - one where Luke's already part of the main narrative instead of waiting for the final segment of the film to join the fight against the First Order.
Regardless of what one feels about Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Hamill's right - not seeing Luke, Leia and Han together for one final time in the sequel trilogy is Lucasfilm's biggest missed opportunity. And for a franchise that banks heavily on nostalgia, it's difficult to think that they didn't prioritize this specific moment. This way, fans would've had a proper opportunity to say goodbye to these legacy characters and move forward with the new heroes of the franchise.