Luke Skywalker blind

Luke Skywalker, the hero of the Star Wars movies, changed a lot in the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The Luke we saw celebrating the defeat of the Empire on Endor is a far cry from the one we catch up with in the final moments of The Force Awakens – he’s transformed into a silent, bushy-bearded, wounded animal wearing a hooded robe. But the Luke we’re about to see in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi nearly had a more drastic transformation applied to his character: in an early formation of the story, writer/director Rian Johnson was toying with the idea of making Luke Skywalker blind.

In a new Rolling Stone article on The Last Jedi, the interviewer was speaking to Johnson and actor Mark Hamill when the writer/director turned to his star and revealed his early idea for the direction he was considering taking the character:

“Did I ever tell you that early on when I was trying to figure out the story for this,” he says, “I had a brief idea I was chasing where I was like, ‘What if Luke is blind? What if he’s, like, the blind samurai?’ But we didn’t do it. You’re welcome. Didn’t stick.”

It’s unclear whether Johnson would have made Luke blind solely in The Last Jedi, or whether he could have convinced J.J. Abrams to retroactively make that character blind during his appearance in The Force Awakens. I’m guessing it’s the latter, because we know The Last Jedi picks up immediately after The Force Awakens left off, and otherwise it would pretty much mean that Luke would need to stab his own eyes out with the lightsaber Rey offers to him. Clearly, that wouldn’t have happened – but what a way to open a movie!

Though that idea for the character “didn’t stick,” Luke Skywalker wouldn’t have been the first blind Jedi in Star Wars history. Last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story featured Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe, a spiritual warrior monk who served as one of the Guardians of the Whills. (Johnson’s idea to possibly make Luke blind pre-dated Rogue One.) And spoilers for Star Wars Rebels coming up, but that animated series has essentially taken the idea of a blind samurai and applied it to its own Jedi hero, Kanan, who was blinded in the season 2 finale. The blind samurai trope has appeared tons of times throughout film history – from the Zatoichi films to the 1989 Rutger Hauer movie Blind Fury – so it makes sense that Johnson would be dipping into cinematic lore to find inspirations for these characters. It’s a Star Wars tradition that goes all the way back to George Lucas’s original creation.

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