Here’s the Crucial Change in The Force Awakens Ending They Made for The Last Jedi
We wrote last December 1 about how Mark Hamill had mentioned to Empire Magazine that there was a pretty major moment at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that needed to be changed in order to keep one of The Last Jedi’s most crucial plot points intact. The moment in question was when Rey approaches Luke on Ahch-To, the remote, rocky planet he’d exiled himself to. At the time we published that piece, there was no way Hamill was going to spill the beans on what that change was, considering The Last Jedi wasn’t opening for another two weeks. Now, however, thanks to most of the world having seen the film, Hamill was ready to let us know what the major change to The Force Awakens ending was that had to be made, and it really is a doozy.
Hamill’s in China on The Last Jedi press tour, and speaking to the Chinese press, he revealed that when Rey approached Luke on Ahch-To at the end of The Force Awakens, she would have found the most reclusive Jedi master since Yoda surrounding by a bunch of levitating boulders. This, of course, would have flown in the face (pun intended) of Rian Johnson’s Last Jedi script, which stipulated that Luke had cut himself off from the force (and therefore any ability to surround himself with floating objects) after the catastrophic botched tutoring of Ben Solo—better known now as Kylo Ren. Hamill had already read Johnson’s script and was prepping for The Last Jedi, so he knew the levitating boulders would need to be dropped.
“When we were doing [The Force Awakens], Rian said, ‘We might have boulders floating to show your Force emanating’, so I was led to believe that I still had the Force and it was really strong in me.
When I read [The Last Jedi] before [The Force Awakens] came out, I said ‘what?!” and called JJ [Abrams] or Rian [Johnson] to say, ‘Are you guys aware of this? Have you seen a cut? Is there floating boulders?’ And they said, ‘No, we caught that and we worked it all out.’”
The meeting we did get between Rey and Luke at the end of The Force Awakens was no less impactful. In fact, you could argue the wordless exchange, the two of them coming face-to-face atop a rocky outcropping on Ahch-To, was even more potent for being so pared down. And then, of course, the lack of any floating boulders and the revelation that Luke has cut himself off from the Force completely all leads powerfully to The Last Jedi’s epic, climatic finish, in which (spoiler alert, obviously) Luke reconnects with the Force and projects himself from Ahch-To to Crait in order to buy Rey, Leia and the remaining members of the Resistance just enough time to escape.
The levitating boulders would have been cool to look at it, but they’d have crushed the much more important, and interesting, relationship Luke had with the Force by the time Rey tracks him down.
Featured image: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.