'Star Wars: The Last Jedi': Why Luke Is In Hiding And How He Got There

"It's time for the Jedi to end."

How did Luke Skywalker, once a wide-eyed ingenue who only wanted to become a Jedi Master like his father before him, become so downtrodden that he would deny his heritage and the rest of the galaxy by going into hiding? We'll find out in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise that was brought into the modern era with 2015's The Force Awakens.

But before Episode VIII hits theaters in December, Entertainment Weekly has a story jam-packed with hints and reveals from Mark Hamill and Last Jedi director Rian Johnson about why Luke is in hiding.

The resounding question throughout all of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was "Where is Luke Skywalker?" But now that Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found him, The Last Jedi opens up a whole new can of worms around the exiled Jedi Master. He doesn't want to return.

Entertainment Weekly spoke with Hamill and Johnson about where Luke is in The Last Jedi, both physically and mentally.

The Luke we see in The Last Jedi is worlds away from the optimist we last saw in The Return of the Jedi. He has gone through training his promising nephew, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) only to see him turn to the Dark Side. But is that enough to make Luke denounce the world and the Jedi ways? Hamill told EW:

"[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That's the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It's that guilt, that feeling that it's his fault, that he didn't detect the darkness in him until it was too late."

Guilt is a strong emotion, to be sure. But when the galaxy is at stake and a new evil, The First Order, is threatening the planets, how can his guilt be so strong as to override his hero complex? (Because Luke definitely has a hero complex, let's be honest.)

Johnson acknowledged this, saying:

"The very first step in the writing of this was figuring out why he's on that island. We know that he is not a coward. He's not just hiding because he's scared. But we also know that he must know his friends are in danger. He must know the galaxy needs him. And he's sitting on this island in the middle of nowhere. There had to be an answer. It had to be something where Luke Skywalker believes he's doing the right thing – and the process of figuring out what that is and unpacking it is the journey for Rey."

So...we don't know. Or as Hamill generously says, there will be "massive amounts of backstory that is left to your imagination." For the actor's process, I'm sure vagueness like this can be helpful for the creative process, but I — and the rest of the Star Wars audience — need to know how Luke could go through such a big 180. Even when he was "tempted by darkness" during his training — which only really resulted in him gaining an affinity for all-black clothing — he never went as nihilist as this. Is it disappointment in himself? His family? His sister and Kylo's mother Leia (Carrie Fisher)?

It may be the burden of never living up to his Master and father figure, Obi-Wan, Hamill says.

"I think he probably looks out on the horizon and wishes that he could be more effective, could be what Obi-Wan wanted him to be. But life is imperfect and without conflict there is no drama. Believe me, you're going to see a lot of conflict in The Last Jedi. That is for sure."

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15.