In A New Hope, Han begged Luke not to “get cocky,” but these days, Luke isn’t cocky at all, he just wants to see his best friend in Star Wars: Episode IX. In a widely circulated interview published on Den of Geek UK on Monday, Mark Hamilll once again voiced his disappointment that Luke will never see Han again.
“Luke, Han, and Leia will never be together again,” Hamill said. “And I’ll probably never get to work with Harrison again.”
But is this legit? In talking about all of this, Hamill’s comments are in context with his feelings before and during the filming of The Last Jedi. So, in a sense, he’s not actually talking about how he feels now, he’s talking about how he felt a few years ago. So, does Hamill protest too much? Is the final film of the Skywalker saga really going to end without even glimpse of Han and Luke together? Here are three ways that Luke and Han can meet in Episode IX and Mark Hamill can still be right.
Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: Episode IX ahead.
Flashbacks With Different Actors
J.J. Abrams totally filmed a Luke Skywalker flashback for The Force Awakens (using actor Robert Boulter) but decided to cut it. Still, if you consider Alden Ehrenreich in Solo and Boulter’s deleted scene canonical, that means there are technically young Han and Luke actors totally available for hire.
Also, let’s not forget that before Solo underperformed at the box office, Ehrenreich told Esquire that he was actually on the hook for three Star Wars movies total. It’s not crazy to think that one of those movies could require Ehrenreich to do a Han Solo/Luke Skywalker flashback scene in Episode IX.
And, if Boulter didn’t play Luke in this hypothetical scene (or scenes), there’s always Marvel fan-favorite Sebastian Stan’s well-publicized personal campaign to play young Luke Skywalker. A campaign which, Mark Hamill seems to publicly support.
Plus, when you consider Ingvild Deila played young Leia in Rogue One, that means Episode IX could — with the help of some slick camera angles — theoretically show a reunion between Luke, Han, and Leia.
Force Visions (I.E. Luke and Han meet in Force Heaven)
It’s ironic that Luke was cut-off from the Force when Han Solo died in The Force Awakens because Han’s future suffering on Cloud City was what Luke sensed in The Empire Strikes Back, and then, motivated him to take action. But, now that Luke has joined the Force (read: “died”) in The Last Jedi, it makes sense that he could “see” everything that has happened since he took his Force-break.
Could this mean that Luke will “meet” Han in some kind of netherworld? In the Rebels episode “The World Between Worlds,” pseudo-Jedi Ezra Bridger rescued Ahsoka Tano from her duel with Darth Vader by plucking her out of time. As many fans noticed when this episode aired last year, this time travel trick was new to the Star Wars universe, and 100 percent canon. So, even if Luke doesn’t pull Han out of time, he could, in theory, see Han in the World Between Worlds.
Han Isn’t Dead
This one is obviously a little out there, but if there’s a long-con here, it’s the idea that Kylo Ren didn’t actually kill Han Solo, and that the whole thing was staged. Or, if that’s too hard to swallow, that Kylo did intend to kill Han, but Han somehow survived that fall (and that giant lightsaber wound).
Who would have rescued Han Solo and quietly squirreled him away from all the action? Well, Lando Calrissian is in Episode IX, and I’m not sure if you know this, but he and Han go waaaaay back. Picture it: Lando swings by Starkiller Base in a slick-ass ship with stealth tech, grabs Han, freezes him in carbonite, and then pops to a secret hospital and has some medical droids fix him up. Stupid? Unlikely? Nah. If this actually happened in Episode IX it would be awesome.
Star Wars: Episode IX is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.