As the clock ticks ever closer to the premiere of The Force Awakens (less than one week!), the internet’s been aflame and afire with speculation regarding the noticeable lack of Luke Skywalker in the movie’s promotional materials.
No posters, no toys, minimal appearances from actor Mark Hamill in interviews or behind the scenes footage. The most we’ve seen (and heard) was back in April: a trailer voiceover paired with the brief glimpse of a metal hand assumed to be Luke’s. There’s a deliberate aura of mystery here from a director known for keeping his secrets, which, instead of irritating me like it has in the past, as was the case with Star Trek: Into Darkness (“HE’S SO NOT KHAN!…HE’S KHAN J/K!”), is exciting in an age where trailers give everything away and spoilers are as easy to find as a mouse click.
So it’s understandable that plenty of rumors have sprung up in the fertile speculation ground. However, the one that’s garnered a lot of attention is that Luke has turned to the Dark Side.
It’s not without merit. On an episode of IFC’s Dinner for Five in 2005 with Mark Hamill and, coincidentally, future Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, Hamill said he thought Luke would become evil in Return of the Jedi.
“As an actor, that would be more fun to play. I just thought that’s the way it was going […] I figured that’s what will be the pivotal moment.”
There’s also the Dark Empire comic book series released in 1991, which saw the resurrection of a cloned Emperor Palpatine and Luke taking Vader’s place as the Emperor’s apprentice.
Most intriguing (or damning) of all is the reason why Abrams accepted the directing chair for The Force Awakens in the first place. According to LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy, that reason was a question: “Who is Luke Skywalker?”
“We’re looking, obviously, for aspiration, for characters who are conflicted between good and evil, dark and light. George [Lucas] spoke often about that tension in everybody between what’s good and bad. He always felt that it was easier to be bad than good.”
Easier, certainly — but is it a better story?
Continue reading “Goodness Isn’t Overrated (Why The Force Awakens Shouldn’t Make Luke Evil)”