There are always a lot of interesting theories regarding Star Wars (and some not so interesting), and one theory that some have had leading up to The Last Jedi is that Luke Skywalker has actually turned to the dark side.
Those people (who are a minority but nonetheless a vocal one) point to things like the recent theater standee posters that show Luke on both the light side and dark side posters as a hint at this. They might also point to Mark Hamill’s comments about how he disagreed with the direction Rian Johnson took his character in the movie, but according to Hamill himself, Luke Skywalker hasn’t embraced the dark side.
In a recent interview with Disney Rewards Insider, Hamill was asked about Luke being dark in the movie. “In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices,” Hamill said. “It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t an evil version of him. But it’s still an incarnation of the character I never expected. It has pulled me out of my comfort zone. It’s a real challenge.”
In an answer to a different question, Hamill said that, “I don’t think Luke’s fundamental personality has changed, except that he is older and his life experiences have shaped his outlook the same way they do for all of us.” In other words, Skywalker has grown older and his experiences have had an impact on him – which made it important for Hamill to know that backstory before playing the character in The Last Jedi. “The biggest challenge for me was actually in the time between Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Hamill said about playing an older Luke Skywalker. “I had to know what had happened to Luke during those years. I had to glean decades of backstory from the script. And some of it I had to make up for myself. I had to know what he went through during that time. It’s not important to the storyline for this film, but I did discuss some of my thoughts with Rian Johnson to make sure I wasn’t coming up with anything in my personal backstory that would affect Luke’s portrayal in the film.”
Hamill is absolutely and unequivocally beloved by Star Wars fans, but he does have a bit of a reputation as a troll when it comes to spoilers. But this magazine interview doesn’t read that way at all, as it sounds like Hamill is simply clarifying some previous comments that he has made when it comes to his disagreement with the character. Luke hasn’t gone to the dark side, but it’s nonetheless a surprising take on the character who was once considered the galaxy’s new hope – who now says that it’s time for the Jedi to end! “I’m sure this line is a great shock to the audience, so you can imagine how I felt!” Hamill said. “This is a huge change for a character who once represented optimism and hope. It’s a radical decision to drop out of everything he’s ever believed in. The entire movie is filled with these kinds of jaw-dropping surprises, but you’ll just have to see the film itself to discover what they are.”
So it doesn’t sound like Luke Skywalker being on the dark side will be one of those surprises when The Last Jedi hits theaters next month. It really seems like Mark Hamill put that fan theory to rest once and for all, but that doesn’t mean Luke won’t still surprise some fans. As I’ve said before, I think Luke will be an antagonist at the start of the film in the sense that he’s not going to be helping Rey like she wishes, but that doesn’t mean he’s evil. So I think he’ll start off as an antagonist without actually being on the dark side. We know that Luke is going to be hesitant to train Rey and that it will be frustrating, and we now also know for sure what most assumed: Luke Skywalker isn’t on the dark side in The Last Jedi. But some fans might still be surprised at the beloved character in the most recent installment of the franchise.