Mark Hamill Reveals George Lucas’s Abandoned Ending for Star Wars: Episode IX
When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he was also letting go of control over his vision of how his epic Skywalker saga, beginning with 1977’s Star Wars, would end. Lucas had given Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm’s president, a treatment for the new trilogy once Disney acquired the rights, but ultimately it was J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s vision for The Force Awakens which kicked things off and set the new trilogy in motion. The Force Awakens led to Rian Johnson’s unique, hugely ambitious The Last Jedi, which changed a lot of what we thought we knew about the Force, as well as where the franchise could go moving forward. Now, for the first time, Luke Skywalker himself is revealing some of what Lucas had envisioned for the end of the saga he started.
Speaking to IGN, Mark Hamill gives us a sketch of Lucas’s vision on how it would all end for Luke, Leia and the rest, as well as how the way the new trilogy is being created differs from the methods used in the original. If you somehow still haven’t seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you should stop reading.
Luke’s Last Act
Okay, so as we know, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi ended with the heroic last act of Luke Skywalker, using the last of his energy to face down Kylo Ren on Crait. Luke’s arrival on Crait was one of the most surprising moments in any Star Wars, replete with incredible little details you likely missed. We know now that Luke had projected himself from his exile on Ahch-To all the way to Crait in order to buy some time for the Resistance and face his former protegé. The effort left him spent, and when we see him again on Ahch-To, staring into the double sunset (a callback from the moment we met him, looking into the double sunset on Tatooine in A New Hope), he’s at peace. Then he vanishes, leaving behind his robe, much like his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. While we’ll see Luke again in some shape or form in J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX, this poetic, potent ending is very different from the one George Lucas had in mind. Here’s what Hamill had to say to IGN about Lucas’s original vision for Luke’s fate:
“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].”
If The Force Awakens was Han’s farewell and The Last Jedi‘s was Luke’s, Carrie Fisher’s death certainly complicates things for how we’ll be saying goodbye to her in Episode IX. Johnson made the controversial (to some) decision to show Leia’s latent Force abilities in The Last Jedi, just one of the many ways his vision for both Luke and Leia differed from Lucas’s.
In fact, Hamill explains the fundamental difference in the way the new trilogy is being created than the original films:
“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.
The new trilogy has benefited from the unique talents and filmmaking teams of J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson. They’ve worked in concert together, while spearheading their own, distinct visions of their portion of the Star Wars saga.
“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,” Hamill tells IGN. “Whoever’s onboard gets to play with the life-size action figures that we all are.”
The torch is back in J.J. Abrams’ hands, and he’s already got that completed script for Episode IX. While the ending won’t be what Lucas had originally envisioned (or any one of the endings he might have imagined in all this time), there is no doubt that both Abrams and Johnson have thought of him often as they’ve lived with the “life-size action figures” he created, and have taken his game-changing franchise into new, exciting directions.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Photo: John Wilson .©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.