Mark Hamill Was Initially Resistant To Return For 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

The end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is such a big tease for what's to come in Star Wars: Episode VIII. We're left with Rey (Daisy Ridley) reaching out to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) with his father's old lightsaber in her hand, waiting for some kind of recognition, reaction, anything. But that scene required some convincing to actually happen.

While speaking at a special event at the Tribeca Film Festival, director J.J. Abrams revealed that Mark Hamill was initially resistant to return for The Force Awakens. However, it didn't have anything to do with a lack of desire, but rather with the fact that he was worried it would be silly for him to show up and not even say anything. Hear what Abrams had to say about locking down Mark Hamill for The Force Awakens ending.

IGN rounded up some of the more interesting points from the conversation that J.J. Abrams had with Chris Rock at Tribeca, and here's what the director had to say about Mark Hamill's hesitancy to take part in The Force Awakens:

"We knew that getting to Luke was the whole story, and I was desperate to do the next chunk that we knew would not fit into this one movie. But, we knew that we had that ending, but it was a frightening and tricky thing to do, but at first and in all honesty, Mark Hamill was a little resistant.

Imagine reading 'Star Wars,' imagine being Mark Hamill and you get the script for the new Star Wars. 'Oh the opening is good, page two, oh, three and so on – what the f**k is the going on, I'm three pages before the end, the last page, what?' He was so kind to do it, and at first he was like, 'Will it seem silly, will it be a joke that he is standing there?' I said to him, 'I don't think it will.' I said because the whole movie is about that, it could be a great fun drum roll, up to seeing this guy."

The journey to track down Luke Skywalker actually ended up being one of the most interesting details of The Force Awakens, if only because it makes everyone wonder what he's been doing this whole time. We know that he attempted to train some new Jedi, but he was betrayed by Ben Solo, who turned to the dark side and killed all of Luke's students. After that he went into hiding, but what has he been doing this entire time? Who is Luke Skywalker? Since that question is what convinced Abrams to direct the movie in the first place, it's no surprise that it's the most intriguing unanswered question so far, with the exception of who Rey's parents might be.

Even though Mark Hamill was worried about whether or not his last minute appearance would actually work, the reality is the other route of having him be more prominent didn't work at all. Back in December, one week after The Force Awakens hit theaters, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan discussed early versions of the story that were written with Michael Arndt that had Luke Skywalker showing up very early in the story. Kasdan explained:

"Early on I tried to write versions of the story where [Rey] is at home, her home is destroyed, and then she goes on the road and meets Luke. And then she goes and kicks the bad guy's ass. It just never worked and I struggled with this. This was back in 2012. It just felt like every time Luke came in and entered the movie, he just took it over. Suddenly you didn't care about your main character anymore because, 'Oh f–k, Luke Skywalker's here. I want to see what he's going to do.'"

Leaving Luke Skywalker out of the equation actually allowed fans to latch onto the new characters a little easier. And as was also established in this same chat with J.J. Abrams, the lack of original trilogy characters appearing early on was offset by the many similarities that The Force Awakens shares with A New Hope. While we probably could have done without another Death Star to allow a bit more of a creative ending, revealing Luke Skywalker at the last minute somewhat makes up for that shortcoming.