Mark Hamill Rian Johnson disagreement

Yesterday’s Vanity Fair’s cover story gave us all kinds of insight into Lucasfilm’s upcoming sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but they aren’t done dropping new snippets of information about the movie, and we just read something that’s worth discussing in a little more detail.

Mark Hamill, who plays one of the most iconic characters in film history, says he “fundamentally disagreed” with the way The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson envisioned Luke Skywalker in the new film. Whoa.

Here’s the selection from a new Vanity Fair article:

Likewise, after reading Rian Johnson’s script for The Last Jedi, Hamill said, “I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.'”

Hamill noted that he has the utmost respect for Johnson and The Force Awakens’s director, J.J. Abrams, and is pleased with how both films have turned out. He just wanted to be heard. To both directors, Hamill said, he delivered a version of this spiel: “I have thousands of really terrible ideas I would love to share with you, among which you might—just law of averages—find a nugget of something and go, ‘That’s not as terrible as the other 35 you just told us.'”

The fact that Mark Hamill disagreed with Rian Johnson isn’t notable on its own because disagreements happen all the time on movie sets. But the idea that he “fundamentally disagreed” with every single decision Johnson made about Luke Skywalker seems notable, even if Hamill ultimately did what he was hired to do and submitted to the writer/director’s vision.

It raises a fascinating question. Who has more ownership over a character: the person who plays him, or the one tasked with inventing and telling a canonical story about him? They’re both adding different types of creativity to collaborate and make sure the final product is the best it can possibly be, but I can totally see why Hamill would object if he didn’t agree with some of his character’s actions or decisions. After all, he’s the one who’s going to have to answer questions about Luke’s behavior at conventions for the rest of his life.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15, 2017.

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