The Future Of Luke Skywalker In 'Star Wars' According To Rian Johnson [Interview]

Luke Skywalker's story in Star Wars: The Last Jedi has proven divisive for not just fans of the franchise, but also Mark Hamill himself. In my spoiler-filled discussion with writer/director Rian Johnson, we talked about the decisions he took with the iconic character and what this means for the famous Jedi Master in Star Wars: Episode 9 and beyond.

Major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow.Star Wars The Last JediWhen did you decide that Luke Skywalker had to die in The Last Jedi?

It was something very early on that started to feel right to me.  It was a process.  It was very early when I thought, when I kind of landed on where Luke's head was at and what his arc was going to be in terms of moving from someone who's decided the galaxy is better off without Luke and the Jedi to fully embracing the galaxy needs a legend to believe in.  I'm going to put this on my shoulders and be the legend of Luke Skywalker for everybody.

When I knew that was his arc, I had the instant tinge of that means that's the place for him to [die] because what else can he accomplish in the physical realm beyond that?  That would be the place emotionally that would have the most impact for him to let himself go.  [...] I don't know what's gonna happen in Episode 9 at all, but there's actually more potential for more interesting things in terms of his role in the final chapter if he moves into another realm.

He could be a Force ghost haunting Kylo Ren.

It's fascinating, isn't it?  A lot more fascinating than him just tagging along with our heroes with a lightsaber.  So to me, it opened up more potential and it seemed like having a full film that is Luke's seemed like if there's any place in the trilogy where it's gonna have the most potent place, it would be here.  But believe me, I wasn't looking forward to doing it.


Peter Sciretta here again.

I know some Star Wars fans are angry that none of the human legacy characters survived for the ninth movie. It seems obvious that they were setting up a General Leia/Kylo Ren confrontation for that film, and that will sadly never happen. I think the idea of not completely "killing your past" and bringing Luke Skywalker back in a new form might be very exciting.

Remember, at the end of Luke Skywalker's confrontation with Kylo Ren on Crait, he tells Ben Solo "See you around, kid." While even Rian Johnson might not know exactly what J.J. Abrams will be doing with Star Wars: Episode 9, it seems to me that he is being set-up as a force ghost that will be haunting Kylo during this final chapter in the sequel trilogy. How cool of an idea is that?