DAre we going to the final episode of the second season of Mandalorian just to give us the final appearance of Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill in Star Wars? If this is the case, the return of the original Jedi knight who took Baby Yoda into the future under his care seems like an appropriate farewell from the boy from Tatooine who destroyed the evil empire. Especially since his last hurricane as a ghost of force in the awful Rise of Skywalker brought him down.
However, what if this is not the end, but the beginning? Disney-owned Lucasfilm currently has a problem that Hamill and an army of CGI technicians are more than ready for: Star Wars fans can’t wait for new new TV shows to separate from the Mandalorians. Efforts based on Obi-Wan Kenobi’s middle age, Bobe Fett’s later period, and Ahsoke Tano’s pranks after the Clone Wars may be the most anticipated – but there is very little interest in the more Skywalker clan-related efforts that fueled the saga of space opera for nine films after JJ Abrams inadvertently Death Starred kicked out the entire franchise one last time.
This is mostly a good thing. The relentless focus on the great beasts of the original films ultimately ruined the trilogy below, specifically the decision to bring back Emperor Palpatine as a ridiculous zombie version of himself who, with a single flick of his fingers, bewitches the new imperial fleet. It’s weird that we’ve never heard of that particular Sith trick before.
Hamill, on the other hand, remains relatively affected by the Rise of Skywalker’s sharp failure. Ryan Johnson’s Last Jedi, the sequel to Star Wars in which Luke had the biggest role, will almost certainly enter the offspring as the best film of the trilogy now that Abrams ’earlier Force Awakens is so severely tarnished by the director’s efforts. He explored fascinating and unexpected topics, such as the idea that Skywalker could fail in his middle years after experiencing nothing more than a relentless victory in his youth.
But even if we don’t want to see those sad events being played out in new films, there are still decades of Luke’s life, and we now seem to have the technology to experience them with the original saga actor in situ. IndieWire reports that Hamill was supposed to play digitally aged Luke in that last scene in which Baby Yoda is passed on to his new mentor, although Max Lloyd-Jones appears to have played the Jedi Knight for a sequence of action in which Luke is excitingly destroyed by a platoon of mechanized dark soldiers.
So why not get Hamilla back in the new movie? The Mandalorian has unequivocally proved that there is enough room in the Star Wars galaxy for new adventures beyond the traditional time sequence – it operates entirely after the rebels’ victory over the Jedi Empire, a period before the rise of the First Order that was not previously considered fertile territory for a long saga. Changing Luke’s role is one possibility, but that approach failed for the middle Solo: Star Wars story. Bringing Hamill back, especially given how spot-on digital aging sought Mandalorian, is certainly a tastier option. There might even be a place for aging Harrison Ford as Han Solo to return to some brand new adventures with his old friend.
Disney + may be the obvious vehicle. But only the multiplex brings in a budget that would allow Lucasfilm to put together the technical team needed for such an ambitious approach, and besides, Disney is already doing 10 TV shows. Of course, some might say that the studio should be left alone – that Hamill’s iconic performances in the original trilogy should not be tainted by the possibility that future performances may not reach the same height.
But we live in a Covid era, where the inability of humanity to do much else but sit in front of the TV in the evenings means we demand more content than ever before, and the idea that popular characters and sagas won’t be recycled because the entertainment masses are naive. That spaceship has definitely left the dock – hell, they’re even bringing back Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. The best we can hope for is that the new adventures will meet the excellent standard of the Mandalorians, and few would argue that Luke’s return was ultimately the highlight of the entire show so far.