force awakens concept art

Not to open up a can of worms, but one of the major complaints regarding Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the way the film handled Luke Skywalker’s story arc. Several fans were outraged that Luke would be hiding out on an island, ignoring his friends. The blame fell squarely on Rian Johnson, with many accusing him of not understanding Luke as a character. But here’s a twist: newly surfaced concept art created before both The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens proves that this was the direction Luke’s story was heading all along. In fact, it might have even had a darker twist. 

Artist Christian Alzmann took to Instagram to share some very early Force Awakens art. We’re talking really early – before the film was even called The Force Awakens. This was created in 2013, a year after George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney. Disney was ramping up to relaunch the series based on some of Lucas’ ideas, but they still hadn’t hired J.J. Abrams, and they definitely hadn’t hired Rian Johnson at this point.

This is worth noting, because in Alzmann’s description of the image, he writes:

My first image I made for Star Wars : The Force Awakens. This was January of 2013. Luke was being described as a Col. Kurtz type hiding from the world in a cave. I couldn’t believe I was getting to make this image and I got a George “Fabulouso” on it to boot.

This flat-out confirms that George Lucas’ early treatment for more films involved Luke hiding out in cave. Eventually, Lucas’ ideas were scrapped, but it’s highly likely Rian Johnson heard about them at some point and incorporated them into The Last Jedi. Another interesting tidbit here: Alzmann says that early descriptions of Luke had him as a “Col. Kurtz type.” Kurtz is one of the main characters in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, and if you’ve seen the movie you know that Kurtz is insane. He’s gone crazy – so crazy that the military sends a man to track him down and kill him. That’s a hell of a lot darker than what ended up in The Last Jedi, where Luke isn’t evil or crazy – he just wants to be left alone.

Beyond all this, the art provides us of how Luke could’ve looked had this path been taken. The topknot on his head is a nice touch, calling back to Star Wars‘ samurai movie influences. And he also bears more than a passing resemblance to his old mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The bottom line here, though, is this: if you flat-out hate the storyline about Luke abandoning his friends and family and hiding out somewhere, don’t blame Rian Johnson.

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