“Star Wars” will always be Mark Hamill’s claim to fame, but it didn’t play out quite the way he thought it would. In fact, when he filmed “Return of the Jedi” nearly 40 years ago, he thought that it would end with Luke Skywalker going to the Dark Side.
“I thought that after ‘Empire Strikes Back,’ we should go [as] crazy as possible with the last one, but there’s a reason George [Lucas] is where he is and I’m where I am,” Hamill said in an interview on SiriusXM.
Hamill explained that he thought Luke would be driven towards evil after he discovers that Darth Vader is his father at the end of “Empire.” He took Luke’s all-black Jedi attire in the final film of the original trilogy as a hint of that transition. Of course, as “Star Wars” fans know, Luke is tempted to join the Dark Side by Emperor Palpatine but pulls back at the last moment, inspiring Vader to also turn away from evil.
But when Hamill first read that ending, he thought it was “so predictable and pat” that Luke was going bad that he asked Lucas why he wrote such a different ending from where he thought it was going. Lucas reminded him that “Star Wars” was always intended to be a tale for kids.
“His original intention was to make movies for, y’know, kids!” Hamill said. “We’re bringing our adult sensibilities to it and that’s where we go wrong…And I realized he was right and that all fairy tales get tied up neatly at the end.”
Of course, even Hamill’s vision of a “Sith Luke” ending wouldn’t have ended on a downer note. He envisioned that Luke would redeem himself by the end. In a way, Hamill’s idea of a Luke Skywalker who falls from grace and rises again would come to fruition in Rian Johnson’s polarizing “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in 2017. Though he doesn’t fall to the Dark Side, Luke’s mistakes in training Ben Solo led his disciple to become the Sith Lord Kylo Ren, causing Luke to exile himself out of guilt. The events of “The Last Jedi” see Luke learn to come to terms with his failures and return one last time to save the remaining vestiges of the Resistance from Kylo Ren’s wrath.
Listen to Hamill’s memories of “Return of the Jedi” in the clip above.