Since we only got to see Luke in the final scene of The Force Awakens and Kathleen Kennedy has said that Luke is “so significantly important to [The Last Jedi]”, we can expect Luke to play a major role in Episode 8. However, what kind of Luke will we see in The Last Jedi? I think there are many clues from the recent Vanity Fair Star Wars article.
The biggest bombshell reported by Vanity Fair, which was also said directly by Mark Hamill at Star Wars Celebration, is the following:
“After reading Rian Johnson’s script for The Last Jedi, Hamill said, ‘I at one point had to say to Rian, I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character.'”
While this quote does not tell us anything directly about Luke’s role in The Last Jedi, if we can figure out where Hamill wanted the character to go, then we will have an important clue about Luke’s actual role in Episode 8! Thankfully, Hamill discussed in Vanity Fair (and other places) what he envisioned Luke’s role being in The Force Awakens.
For example, Hamill argued that it would have been great if Luke could have tried to save his pal Han:
“So I thought it would have been more effective, and I still feel this way, though it’s just my opinion, that Leia would make it as far as she can, and, right when she is apprehended, maybe even facing death—Ba-boom! I come in and blow the guy away and the two of us go to where Han is facing off with his son, but we’re too late.”
Hamill also stated that he would have liked to have seen Luke come to Rey’s rescue in the climactic snow battle in The Force Awakens:
“On his first read-through of the script, Hamill recalled, he got excited when the legendary lightsaber wiggled portentously in the snow. ‘The moment in the forest, when the saber rattles?’ he said. I go, ‘Oh, baby, here I come!’ And then it flies into her hands? I said, What the hell, she hasn’t even trained!'”
What do these two ideas by Hamill have in common? The common thread is that Hamill clearly views Luke as a brave hero that will come rushing in to save the day. So, when Hamill says he “fundamentally disagreed” with the direction Rian Johnson took the character in The Last Jedi, the most logical inference is that Luke will not fully fit this characterization in Episode 8. Instead, it seems Luke will be a much more reluctant hero than Hamill fundamentally thinks he is, and than we have seen him be in the original trilogy. This would explain the following quote in Vanity Fair:
“But Johnson was happy to talk about Hamill’s performance, which, he said, ‘shows a very different side of the Luke character.'”
I believe these facts fit with my theory that Luke will be in a bad place psychology to start out The Last Jedi, that he will initially resist or reject Rey’s pleas for him to join the fight against the First Order, and that he may be extremely disillusioned with the Jedi philosophy.
Whether this theory hits or misses the mark, we can at least look forward to an interesting character arc for Luke in The Last Jedi!