Why Mark Hamill’s Comments Mean Luke's Role in ‘Star Wars 9’ Will Be Tiny

Lets face it. These guys probably will barely be in the movie.

Make no mistake, Star Wars: Episode IX will be a party. Not only will the movie bring back its core regular cast — Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran, and John Boyega — but they’ll be joined by a ton of cool actors including Matt Smith, Kerri Russell, Naomi Ackie, and Richard E. Grant, all in mystery roles. Still, for most fans, all of those names aren’t quite enough to get us excited. Instead, because Billy Dee Williams will finally return as the suave Lando Calrissian, alongside Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher (via archival footage) the party will feel appropriately complete and worthy of the name Star Wars.

And yet, fans of the old school characters might want to slow their roll. If we think about this reasonably, there’s no way Luke, Lando, and Leia are really going to be in the movie all that much. And, recent comments from Mark Hamill seem to (maybe) confirm this fact.

On Tuesday, December 11, Entertainment Weekly published an interview with Mark Hamill, ostensibly about his work on the series Knightfall, but of course, the subject of Star Wars was broached really quickly. Specifically, it sounds like at the time of the interview, Mark Hamill had yet to film his scenes for Star Wars: Episode IX.

“I still have to go over and do [Episode IX],” Hamill told EW.

luke skywalker
luke skywalker

Let that sink in. As of this writing, Mark Hamill probably hasn’t shot his scenes for Episode IX yet. The movie is filming and has been for quite some time. Yours truly knows of one insider who has visited the set as recently as last week. Plus, when I spoke to Snap Wexley actor Greg Grunberg last month about his campaign to raise awareness for epilepsy, he told me he was already done filming his Star Wars scenes at Pinewood studios in London, and that the majority of the cast was in Jordan, presumably shooting some desert planet action. The point is if someone in a relatively small role like Grunberg is done with his scenes, and the movie is nearing the final stages of filming, Hamill’s role is either very small or entirely connected to post-production effects. (Read: he’s a shimmering ghost the whole time, so they can film a lot of the stuff without him.)

When it comes to Leia, we all already know for various reasons why Carrie Fisher can’t be in the movie very much. Which leaves us with Lando. Recently, rumors emerged that Naomi Ackie would be playing Lando’s secret daughter, which would partially explain Lando’s involvement in the movie. But, none of that means Lando will have a very big role in the film. In fact, there’s every reason to believe Lando’s screentime in the movie will be on par with Admiral Ackbar’s short scenes in The Force Awakens. And the reason for this is plain: Lando, Leia, and Luke simply cannot be in this movie all that much because the newer characters need the screen time!

Lando Calrissian
Lando Calrissian

Despite pressure to make Episode IX the best Star Wars movie ever, and jam-pack as much cool shit into it as possible, J.J. Abrams is not going to cut a movie that is longer than The Last Jedi (which was a full 2.5 hours.) This means we’re dealing with a movie that is probably about the same length as The Force Awakens (2 hours and 15 minutes, or less). So, if Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, Leia Organa all show up, where does that leave Rey, Finn, Rose, Poe and Kylo Ren?

A good way to think about this through the lens of the droids. Remember how much screentime R2-D2 and C-3PO had in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi? Oh yeah, you don’t, because they’re barely in those movies. R2-D2 and C-3PO are basically just in these movies so the films scan as real Star Wars, but they don’t do a whole lot to contribute. (C-3PO does almost nothing in The Last Jedi.)

R2-D2 does the most cool stuff in flashbacks in the new movies.
R2-D2 does the most cool stuff in flashbacks in the new movies.

This isn’t to say that Luke, Leia, and Lando will have irrelevant screen time in Episode IX. But, if we’re emotionally preparing ourselves for how much these characters will be seen in the final installment of the Skywalker saga, we should all put ourselves in the shoes of someone who’s favorite Star Wars character is R2-D2 and was crushed after seeing The Force Awakens.

The stories of Rey and Kylo Ren will undoubtedly take center stage in Episode IX. Their conflict is emblematic of what this trilogy is about. Because Finn, Poe, and Rose have been integral to that conflict, they’ll be featured prominently, too, but the stars of this film will be Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver. There is literally no other way Episode IX can go. Rey and Kylo need to sort out their beef, and the three L’s — Luke, Leia, and Lando — will mostly be watching from the wings, before fading away into space, forever.

Star Wars: Episode IX is out one year from now on December 20, 2019.


Related video: 9 Possible Titles for ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

Media via Lucasfilm, StarWars.com