The Force Awakens essentially ended mid-scene, and fans had to wait two years to see how the cliffhanger resolved after Luke Skywalker and Rey had their emotional, wordless meeting on the remote planet Ahch-To. Making sure the continuity between the end of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi lined-up was important, and Luke’s actor Mark Hamill says they had to make a major change so that the moment didn’t accidentally ruin one of Last Jedi’s big twists.
Shortly before Last Jedi came out, Hamill told Empire magazine that he’d had a minor freakout
“There was something that happened at the end of The Force Awakens when I’m standing on the cliff,” Hamill said. “I called Rian in a panic because it was all wrong. He said, ‘It’s okay, I spoke to J.J. and he’s taking that scene out.’ It just didn’t match up with what Rian had written.”
It’s only after the film’s release that Hamill was able to tell Chinese press what that big wrong thing would’ve been. At one point, Luke Skywalker would’ve been surrounded by floating boulders as Rey looked on, lightsaber outstretched. It would’ve been a cool visual, and it makes sense, given that Luke is a super-powerful Jedi master.
Except — wait! One of the biggest twists in The Last Jedi is the revelation that Luke has cut himself off from the Force in the wake of his failure with Ben Solo. Those floating rocks would’ve undermined his character arc in Last Jedi, so they had to go.
“When I read [The Last Jedi] before [The Force Awakens] came out, I said ‘what?!” and called JJ [Abrams] or Rian [Johnson] to say, ‘Are you guys aware of this? Have you seen a cut? Is there floating boulders?’” Hamill recalled. “And they said, ‘No, we caught that and we worked it all out.’”