In a recent interview Mark Hamill discusses whats been going on with Luke since the end of Return of the Jedi, and mentions Luke hasn't gone to the dark side.
Q. Are you just a bit surprised to still be portraying Luke Skywalker after all these years?
A. I’ll answer that question with a story. We were working on the very first lm, and George (Lucas) said to me, “What would you think about coming back to do another film?” I asked “When would this be?” and he said “Oh well, maybe 2011.” I thought, “Gosh, I’ll be in my late 50s by then.” And now—well, here I am!
Q. Has Luke’s character changed over the years?
A. Actually, I don’t think Luke’s fundamental personality has changed, except that he is older and his life experiences have shaped his outlook the same way they do for all of us.
Q. As an actor how do you build the essence of a much-younger character into the character who has aged and matured?
A. The biggest challenge for me was actually in the time between Return
of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I had to know what had happened to Luke during those years.
I had to glean decades of backstory from the script. And some of it I had to make up for myself. I had to know what he went through during that time. It’s not important to the storyline for this film, but I did discuss some of my thoughts with Rian Johnson (the film’s writer and director) to make sure I wasn’t coming up with anything in my personal backstory that would affect Luke’s portrayal in this film.
Q. Luke has been described as “dark” in this film. Would you agree?
A. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke has lost cofidence in his ability to make good choices. It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t an evil version of him. But it’s still an incarnation of the character I never expected. It has pulled me out of my comfort zone. It’s a real challenge.
Q. In the trailers, we hear Luke say “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” What was your reaction when you first read that line in the script?
A. I’m sure this line is a great shock to the audience, so you can imagine how I felt! This is a huge change for a character who once represented optimism and hope. It’s a radical decision to drop out of everything he’s ever believed in. The entire movie is lled with these kinds of jaw-dropping surprises, but you’ll
just have to see the film itself to discover what they are.
Q. What has it been like to work with Rian Johnson, the film's director?
I couldn’t have done this without Rian. The Star Wars saga is such a huge responsibility. There was one day when Rian and I were meeting and I told him, “This is so high profile, I have to admit, I’m terriffed.” He looked at me and said, “I am too.” Rian is so gifted. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. I couldn’t have done this role without his judgment and input. I believe in him. I believe in his judgment completely. Every step of the way I let him be my guru. If he’s happy with a scene, then I’m happy.
Q. You’ve had a great career. How do you feel about being so strongly identifed with and remembered for your portrayal of Luke Skywalker and with Star Wars in general?
A. To tell you the truth, when I started my career, I didn’t expect to be remembered for anything!
I certainly never would have guessed that portraying Luke Skywalker would be so meaningful for me personally. These stories and the love people have for them is so huge, to be part of them is an enormous honor. I never take it for granted.
A Hero's Journey - Luke Skywalker