Because we saw Luke Skywalker become one with the Force, there’s every reason to believe his spirit could return in Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019. But, in an alternate world, George Lucas wouldn’t have killed Luke off at all. On Monday, Mark Hamill said that Luke would have survived in a different version of the trilogy.
In an interview published with IGN, Hamill said: “ I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] 9, after he trained Leia.” For hardcore fans, this isn’t surprising since Mark Hamill has been mentioning for decades that George Lucas had teased out the future of his character before. In a 1983 interview, Hamill does a great Lucas impression and mentions that the Star Wars creator had told him then that he wanted him to return to play an “Obi-Wan type character…who passes down Excalibur to the next generation.”
So, these new contemporary comments from Hamill neatly dovetail with what he’s been saying about Lucas all along. According to the IGN interview, Hamill implied Lucas may not have had specifics but said that “George had an overall arc.” Historically, it would be interesting to know exactly what that arc was. For the most part, Lucas hasn’t offered too many specifics, other than to say the new films are not his vision.
Still, there are many elements in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi that connect with Lucas’s original plans. Luke Skywalker does become an Obi-Wan Kenobi-type figure in the new films, and the concept of the Jedi Temple in both films originated with Lucas’s ideas, too. In fact, one concept painting in the book 2017 book The Art of the Last Jedi was approved by Lucas way before the film was in production.
In the new interview Hamill also mentioned that story ideas for Episode IX were in flux while they were filming The Last Jedi. “Rian didn’t write what happens in 9 – he was going to hand it off to, originally, Colin Trevorrow and now J.J…It’s an ever-evolving, living, breathing thing.”
Trevorrow’s scrapped script for Episode IX has been recently been rumored to have kept Luke alive for the next installment. What that means for Luke’s spirit showing up in the actual film remains to be seen. - Star Wars: Episode IX is out on December 20, 2019.