It’s looking like we won’t see Luke Skywalker’s beard in Star Wars: Episode IX, which could mean that we’re not going to see Luke at all in the last movie in the third trilogy. Actor Mark Hamill has shaved the Jedi beard he was contractually obligated to grow for The Force Awakens and Last Jedi, and that could indicate that Luke won’t return as a Force Ghost in the next Star Wars.
On Tuesday, Hamill, who also voiced the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series, tweeted a picture of a cool Joker cane. More interesting to Star Wars fans, though, was the fact that Hamill was clean-shaven. It’s unclear when, exactly, he took a razor to his face, but given that Luke sported a full beard in both the present-day and flashback scenes of The Last Jedi, fans are worried that the lack of facial hair could mean a lack of Luke.
Luke became one with the Force at the end of the movie, so he’s technically dead. However, plenty of Jedi have come back as Force Ghosts, so it’s not crazy to think that Hamill might make another appearance in the next movie as a ghost, posthumously helping Rey out the way that Obi-Wan and Yoda’s Force Ghosts helped him.
If he appears as a Force Ghost, though, wouldn’t it make sense that he’d have the same beard he had in his later life? Obi-Wan retained his beard as a ghost, and while both the original and special editions of Return of the Jedi showed a very different-looking ghost-Anakin Skywalker after Darth Vader’s death, Luke was very much “one with the Force” when he died, so it doesn’t seem as likely that he’d take a much younger, beardless appearance as a ghost.
It’s possible that Hamill shaved the beard because he’s going to be digitally de-aged for a flashback or Force Ghost appearance, and it’s easier to do de-aging when he’s clean-shaven. That’s unconfirmed, though.
In fact, just about everything about Episode IX is unconfirmed. Lando Calrissian is coming back, and The Americans star Keri Russell is in talks for a role. There’s no official word on whether or not Hamill (and by extension Luke Skywalker) are coming back to finish off the trilogy. Thus, lots of speculation about what Hamill’s lack of a beard does or does not mean.
One thing is certain, though: Though the beard may be gone, Luke Skywalker’s green milk mustache is eternal.
Star Wars: Episode IX will come out on December 20, 2019.