That Mark Hamill disagreed with Rian Johnson’s vision for Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi is no secret. In fact, Hamill has been fairly outspoken from the outset about his displeasure with the direction in which Johnson took his character. Recently, he’s expounded on his feelings.
Hamill describes his character as “the most optimistic, positive character” in the original trilogy. However, in The Last Jedi, we instead find Luke in seclusion on Ahch-To, shut off from the galaxy, his family, and the Force itself. As a result, Hamill questions how Luke could have become a “cranky, suicidal man” and morph into (to paraphrase) basically the “get off my lawn” guy ushering Rey away and out of his yard.
For Hamill, and for most of us fans, if we’re to be honest, the “radical change” in Skywalker’s character and temperament was too much; as he states, from the perspective of his character, “I wouldn’t secret myself on an island and then turn off the Force.” Yet, that’s exactly what the character does in The Last Jedi, much to all of our dismay.
Furthering our disappoint, and Hamill’s, is the fact that Luke didn’t get to display more of the Jedi skills he’d honed since the Battle of Endor. According to him, J.J. Abrams would have used a much different portrayal of the character, telling Hamill that he would have “probably put in a couple of floating boulders to show the Force emanating from” Luke to demonstrate the raw power of the Force. Hamill would have even gone so far as to have Luke topple AT-ATs “like dominoes” with the lift of an eyebrow. Instead, Luke ultimately, literally, disappears into the breeze in an end ill-fitting for such a beloved character.
As a writer and director just coming into the Star Wars franchise, Johnson should have accepted more of Mark Hamill’s insight and advice. He’s only embodied all that is Luke Skywalker for the last forty years.