Two weeks after its release, the Star Wars: The Last Jedi discourse is far from over. Fans are starkly divided on whether Rian Johnson‘s newest entry into the Star Wars saga is good or not, but star Mark Hamill certainly hasn’t helped to calm the fan outcry.
Hamill has publicly aired his grievances with Johnson over the direction for Luke Skywalker, the character that Hamill has inhabited for decades. After initially expressing doubts over the choices for Luke’s arc, he walked back that statement, giving his full support to Johnson. But soon, Hamill was back to adding fuel to the fan fire, claiming “He’s not my Luke Skywalker anymore.” And now, surprise surprise, Hamill is realizing that he shouldn’t have bad-mouthed a movie that arguably gave Luke his most complex and compelling storyline yet.
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead.
We’ve written plenty about the negative reaction that The Last Jedi has received from some fans — some valid, some not— with much of the ire directed at Johnson’s radical choices for the franchise’s beloved characters. Namely, Luke Skywalker. The Last Jedi finds Luke in self-imposed exile in Ahch-To, guilt-ridden over his part in driving Kylo Ren to the Dark Side and stubbornly refusing to take part in his sister Leia’s dwindling Resistance. To many fans, and Hamill, it seemed a huge 180 from the Luke that we last left in The Return of the Jedi, whose selfless heroism helped turn Darth Vader to the Light at the last minute.
Hamill has been, somewhat unintentionally, leading the fan charge against Johnson in disagreeing with the unconventional portrayal of Luke as an old, embittered man. But a week after he stirred up fan outcry against Last Jedi with his facile statement that “Jedis don’t give up,” Hamill took to Twitter to clear the air.
“I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public,” Hamill wrote on his Twitter. “Creative differences are a common element of any project but usually remain private. All I wanted was to make good movie. I got more than that — [Rian Johnson] made an all-time GREAT one!”
It’s unsurprising that Hamill has such deep affection for the character, but sometimes, affection for a character can blind someone to the potential that a character can go — beyond the classic hero’s journey that Luke experienced in the original trilogy, and beyond our reverent ideals of what Luke Skywalker means. The Last Jedi humanized a hero, and left a complex, troubled, and ultimately good man in its wake.
While Hamill’s statement here reeks of PR crisis management, Hamill’s heart is in the right place. Maybe Hamill’s vision of Luke Skywalker would have made a good movie. But a film like Johnson’s Last Jedi, one that still has people buzzing about it in the weeks after its release, is a great one.