*Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead*
Now this is an interesting bit of news, dropped by the one and only, Mark Hamill, himself. When speaking with IGN and going through the differences in approach to the Luke Skywalker character, he suddenly changed tack and said “I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] 9, after he trained Leia. Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi].”
Needless to say, this is the first time that we hear of Lucas planning to end the Skywalker saga with Luke biting the big enchilada. In the original extended storyline, pre-Disney retcon, Leia was indeed trained as a Jedi Knight, though not by Luke, and was understood may have appeared in one of Lucas’ entries in the franchise.
Granted, some similarities do carry over, like Luke meeting his end (though a film earlier than anticipated) and Leia showing off her own abilities in the force (though this is a sore point for some fans), but clearly Lucas had alternative plans for his characters.
It doesn’t seem to be clear which Lucas version of Episode IX this particular ending is a part of. Lucas had several ideas and varieties of potential story arc’s before Disney scooped in and bought the rights for the franchise.
Prior to Return of the Jedi being written, Hamill said that he had seen outlines for each of Lucas’ Episode VII – IX. Lucas, though, seemingly abandoned the idea, and incorporated several elements, including Luke having an estranged sister, into Return of the Jedi instead. Some ideas he had for the follow up trilogy would have possibly included a familiar idea in a setting in the future where we would see Luke, Leia and Han as older characters, as we have seen. While one that I found fascinating would have included an idea of a fractured Empire which has devolved into individual tyrannical worlds. How awesome would that have been?
Lucas did indeed, though, write a new story arc for a brand new trilogy as the series was transitioning into a Disney property, but Kathleen Kennedy scrapped a large chunk of his ideas in favour of J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s The Force Awakens script and the direction set for the films from there on.
Scrapping ideas seems to be a common thread in the Star Wars creative realm as Daisy Ridley herself revealed that Abrams had also written treatments for a full scale trilogy himself, but Rian Johnson used very little of it to build The Last Jedi. Hamill says he doesn’t know if Abrams will return to his original ideas for Episode IX or create something new.
Hamill also took the time to compare approaches to the Star Wars films between Lucas and Disney:
“George had an overall arc – if he didn’t have all the details, he had sort of an overall feel for where the [sequel trilogy was] going – but this one’s more like a relay race. You run and hand the torch off to the next guy, he picks it up and goes.
“Ryan didn’t write what happens in 9 – he was going to hand it off to, originally, Colin Trevorrow and now J.J. […] It’s an ever-evolving, living, breathing thing. Whoever’s onboard gets to play with the life-size action figures that we all are.”
Hamill is still unsure on whether we will see Luke in the upcoming film and said “No one’s really talked to me about it” so we’ll have to wait and see until at least a trailer comes out to answer that question. One thing I will say is that Hamill has been pretty open about his opinions and the background happenings that a lot of us didn’t know about. After being connected to the franchise as long as he has though, that has to carry some kind of weight.
Funny enough, in divulging Star Wars opinions and info, he also managed to take to Twitter and advise on a “fun fact”. I’ll let the man himself fill you in. If you have comments, drop ’em below!
FUN FACT- The name change to Skywalker came late enough in production that we had to re-shoot the scene where I liberated the Princess from her cell. We had already shot it using the original line: "I'm Luke Starkiller, I'm here to rescue you!" pic.twitter.com/VRaoJhGt2n
— Mark Hamill (Mar🐫) (@HamillHimself) March 24, 2018