It’s fair to say that calling Star Wars: The Last Jedi a divisive movie is a massive understatement. While critics have given the film glowing reviews (ourselves included), fans are split, some loving the movie for its big changes and character development, and others hating it enough to review-bomb Rotten Tomatoes and start online petitions to have the film removed from the Star Wars canon (seriously). You’ve likely heard criticisms over several aspects of the movie, one of the largest being the film’s treatment of the all-important Luke Skywalker. And for a time, Mark Hamill himself seemed to agree with those criticisms.
Per Vanity Fair, here’s the quote that circulated in which Hamill expressed doubts about writer-director Rian Johnson’s depiction of Luke Skywalker, a character Hamill has had some ownership of for decades:
I at one point had to say to Rian, “I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.”
While Hamill did become more of a team player, similar comments arose during the press tour for The Last Jedi. Per Spanish-language movie site SensaCine (via ComicBook.com, Hamill said:
I said to Rian, I said “Jedis don’t give up.” I mean, even if he had a problem, he would maybe take a year to try and regroup, but if he made a mistake he would try and right that wrong, so right there, we had a fundamental difference, but, it’s not my story anymore. It’s somebody else’s story, and Rian needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective.
Well, in this version, see, I’m talking about the George Lucas Star Wars. This is the next generation of Star Wars. I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he’s Jake Skywalker, he’s not my Luke Skywalker. But I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well. Listen, I still haven’t accepted it completely, but, it’s only a movie. I hope people like it. I hope they don’t get upset. I came to really believe that Rian was the exact man they needed for this job.
Let’s call this “damning with loud praise.”
Afraid of giving The Last Jedi haters any ammunition to use against Johnson, who will be starting his own trilogy of Star Wars films, Hamill sought to make a clarification on Twitter:
Fans of the film may be pleased that the biggest Star Wars star has endorsed it and its controversial elements, though cynical detractors will likely attribute this reversal to an attempt to save face and avoid a bad public relations situation.
Whatever the case may be, this film sure does have everyone talking, something Johnson likely expected.
Earlier today, Hamill tweeted out a heartfelt tribute to his late co-star, Carrie Fisher.