With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just months from release, fans are still very much in the dark about the status of Luke Skywalker some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. A multitude of theories have been advanced regarding the character, yet it appears that Mark Hamill once shared his thoughts for a darker version of Skywalker with no less a personage than J.J. Abrams himself.
The moment in question came as part of IFC’s show Dinner For Five, as Polygon points out. In a fourth season episode (which aired in 2005), Kevin Smith and Hamill discussed the actor’s vision for a darker Luke Skywalker to appear at the end of the original Star Wars trilogy. Seated across the table from Hamill during this discussion was J.J. Abrams, the man who has since gone on to helm the first entry in the franchise in a decade, The Force Awakens.
Hamill noted that a dark side version of Luke Skywalker would be more entertaining to play as an actor, and that he assumed such a transformation would be “the pivotal moment” for the series. Hamill relates that he even pitched the idea to George Lucas, giving several ideas for the character’s look as a dark Jedi (which he asserts may have been incorporated into the design of Anakin Skywalker’s costume for the prequels).
— IGN (@IGN) October 21, 2015
Though Hamill was discussing Return of the Jedi, some fans have been adamant in their belief that Luke Skywalker may in fact be the antagonist of newest Star Wars trilogy. They are aided in reaching this conclusion by the fact that Skywalker is the one character that remains a total enigma in the upcoming film. Though Han Solo and Princess Leia have been shown multiple times in the film’s trailers, Luke doesn’t even appear on the recently released poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, leaving fans completely in the dark regarding his role.
I still doubt this is the hand of Luke Skywalker. I know I’m crazy for saying it :) pic.twitter.com/zaTVrjFqss
— The Search Begins (@StarWarsJunk) October 19, 2015
Some fans have taken Skywalker’s absence from the advance marketing materials as a tacit indication that he has in fact turned to the Dark Side, following in his father’s footsteps, as Tech Insider notes. Though Adam Driver was revealed as the man behind the mask of Kylo Ren in a Vanity Fair piece earlier this year, some observers have posited that his casting could be the ultimate red herring, and that it really is an older Luke Skywalker that wields the crossguard lightsaber. These fans point to Kylo Ren’s pledge to “finish” what Darth Vader started in the latest trailer as an indication that the character could, in reality, be Luke (though Abrams has previously described Ren as a “Darth Vader obsessive,” seemingly explaining the quote).
— Colin J MacFarlane (@ColinOrJames) October 18, 2015
While Luke’s role remains unknown, at least one image of Hamill on set has leaked out ahead of the release of the newest Star Wars. Disney has done a good job of getting it removed from most media outlets, yet not before the picture revealed a bearded Luke Skywalker, clad in robes resembling those worn by Ben Kenobi and other Jedi.
The image suggests that Luke is most likely on the light side of the Force in the new film, operating in much the same capacity as his former Jedi masters. If the minority of fans are right, however, and Luke Skywalker really has turned to the Sith, it will become clear to fans in just a few short weeks, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released.
[Photo by Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney]