star-wars-the-last-jedi-luke-mark-hamill

At the Star Wars: The Last Jedi junket, I was able to sit down with Mark Hamill for the first time, fulfilling a childhood dream. It’s hard asking questions about a movie you haven’t seen yet (but I’ve seen it since the interview and you won’t be disappointed), but Hamill is amazing at answering questions without giving away anything at all. But just because I hadn’t seen the film at the time doesn’t mean I didn’t ask some big questions. Is Luke Skywalker is still a hero even if he has run away from things? Who is the chosen one? And yes, we spoke about about Hamill’s disagreements with director Rian Johnson over where the script takes Luke Skywalker.

Mark Hamill - Star Wars The Last Jedi Disagreement

Luke Skywalker was a hero in the original trilogy.  And I think him, and to a certain extent, Han Solo after Return of the Jedi, ran away from things.  Does running away make Luke any less of a hero?

Well, you’re hitting a point that was a bone of contention.  Because you see in the trailer he says, I know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end.  And I said to Rian, I said, what are you talking about?  A Jedi doesn’t give up.  If they make a wrong, they try and make it right.  That was a big kind of thing and I had to realize it’s not for me to decide.  When I see what he was doing that, what my function in the script was my job was to put my own personal feelings aside and do my best to realize his vision.  Not Mark Hamill’s vision, Rian Johnson’s vision.  Whether I agreed with it or not.  ‘Cause, I mean, I used to say to George, it was funny, why can’t Luke have a girlfriend?  Eventually, I heard in the Extended Universe there’s Mara Jade.  And he got married and he had kids.  I still don’t know, are [Jedi] supposed to be celibate or can they be married with children?  Can you answer that?

I think the Jedi are supposed to be celibate, but…I mean, you’re kind of hinting at something I was gonna ask you. When I heard that line in the trailer, and I’ve only seen the trailers, I’ve not seen the film, so I don’t know the context.  I kind of think Luke is saying something like this organized religion has turned this thing that was good for something bad.  

Right. Well that’s a good way to go.  Another way to go is when I say, look, a lot of times in acting you have to find things that are parallel in your own life to know how to react emotionally at any given scenario.  And so I thought I was of The Beatles generation.  And I bought that “All You Need is Love.”  I said, by the time I get to be, our generation is in power they’ll be no more wars.  They’ll be no more racial discrimination.  They’ll be peace and harmony.  We failed.  Arguably the world is worse now than it was in the ’60s and early ’70s.  So I drew upon that to try and figure out why Luke was so disillusioned.  Why he so tragically failed.  He did fail.  Obviously, he thought Ben Solo was the Chosen One and he was wrong.  Now he’s almost responsible for the rise of the next Darth Vader.  Now that’s where you get into the weeds because my contention was he wouldn’t let that go.  He would try and correct that.  But for the purposes of the story and I without really revealing too much, you’ll understand more when you see it.  And again, I totally trust Rian and I think he’s done a spectacular job.

Luke Skywalker blind

I’ve heard some people say that this movie is different than what we think it’s gonna be.  And you even said at the press conference that the line that epitomizes this movie is “this is not gonna go the way you think.” What does that mean?

Well…Luke says that to a character in the film and I was just saying in retrospect when I read, first of all, when I read the script and it’s time for the Jedi to end, I just couldn’t get beyond that.  And quite frankly, that’s not going the way I thought it would.  But isn’t that a good thing?  In other words, if it’s predictable, everyone will say, oh okay, this happens, that happens, it’s no surprise.  Even the fact that I’m not the benevolent Jedi that’s training others and giving advice and delivering information as Guinness came to me in Empire and so forth, we’ve seen that before.  You know?

Yeah.

I tell you the truth when my son said, Dad, there’s a novel out there where they clone an evil Luke from your severed hand I went oh baby, would I love that.  And of course, when I told Rian he says, oh I love that too, but it’s been done.  We’ve gotta do something that’s never been done before.  But you know actors, we all wanna play our own evil twin.  Twice the screen time, you know.  It’s all Man in the Iron Mask time where you get to play your own twin.  Bette Davis in Dead Ringer.

luke in hiding in the last jedi

Actually going back to the hero question, is Luke still a hero? And is he the Chosen One?  Who is the Chosen One? That’s a better question.

Well, that does get into spoiler territory.  But the thing about Luke that I thought was special was that how unremarkable a person he was.  When we first meet him he’s sort of clueless.  He’s a farm boy and I think that’s the entry level character that young people will relate to.  Because Han Solo’s a little intimidating.  He’s kind of cynical.  Carrie is royalty.  Guinness is a wizard.  Luke, he’s the everyman.  But it says that anybody has the potential to if they do the right thing and they do things for the greater good rather than, selflessly without any element of self-aggrandizement then you, everyone has the potential to become a hero.  So I think he’ll always be a hero even if he’s a fallen hero.  Even if he’s a flawed hero.  Or if he’s a failed as a hero.  But obviously, it’s not my story anymore.  The focus now is on the new protagonist played by Daisy Ridley.

Thank you very much, Mark.

Thank you.

Some great answers without revealing too much.

Well, I should be apologizing ’cause I can talk for hours and not answer your question.

Yeah, you’re brilliant at weaving.

Dodging and weaving.

***

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15, 2017.

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