For diehard fans of Luke Skywalker, ‘The Force Awakens’ may well be the single longest tease in cinema history. After a hundred and thirty-five minutes of anticipation, we finally catch up with Luke as Rey presents him with his old lightsaber on a rocky Ach-To island and he… just sort of stands there as the credits roll. While it was absolutely an effective ending, it understandably left people wanting more. Thankfully, ‘The Last Jedi’ is primed to do exactly that, as it promises to prominently feature Luke in much the same way its predecessor featured Han Solo.
But apparently, that now famous ending was not always the plan. Speaking to Empire (appropriately enough) for a feature the magazine is running ahead of the release of ‘The Last Jedi’, the Jedi Master himself alluded to a somewhat different ending that was filmed by director J.J.Abrams. Though he doesn’t specify the nature of the change, this alternate ending was apparently different enough to have affected the beginning of ‘The Last Jedi’. As Hamill explains:
“There was something at the end of ‘The Force Awakens’ when I’m standing on the cliff. I called Rian in a panic because it was all wrong. He said “It’s okay, I spoke to J.J. and he’s taking that scene out.” It just didn’t match up with what Rian had written.”
So whatever the scene in question was, it was significant enough to conflict with Rian Johnson’s plans for the next film, but also small enough that it could apparently be excised with little issue. It’s hard to speculate much farther than that without knowing exactly how ‘The Last Jedi’ begins. It could be anything from a continuity error in terms of location to something that created a conflicting tone. The only thing we can say with any certainty is that it probably didn’t involve Luke speaking, as Hamill has, well, spoken in the past about reading stage directions at the first table read for ‘The Force Awakens’ for want of anything else to say.
Directed by Rian Johnson, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is due to arrive in theaters on December 15, 2017. The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie.