last jedi luke mark hamill luke skywalker

There’s been a lot of speculation in the leadup to the December release of ‘The Last Jedi’ that Luke Skywalker may have turned to the dark side. This, in itself, is nothing new as similar rumors sprang up prior to the release of ‘The Force Awakens’. In that case, they were spurred by Luke’s near total absence from the film’s promotional campaign (and, as we would later learn, from the film itself). And while the idea seemed to have been put to bed at the time, it has come roaring back with a vengeance. This time around, the theory is largely built on the way Luke has been presented in the trailers, the darker robes he’s seen wearing in some promotional imagery, and other seemingly minor details.

As might be expected with the film still a month and change away from release, Mark Hamill has been rather cagey about these rumors. Now, however, the Jedi Master seems to have had a change of heart, addressing the matter head-on in an interview for the winter issue of ‘Disney Insider‘:

“In ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices. It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t and 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.”

Hamill’s description of his character meshes fairly well with what we (officially) know about Luke’s journey through the intervening years. Following the collapse of the Empire, Luke established a school to train the next generation of Jedi. That all came crashing down, however, when Kylo Ren turned to the dark side and slaughtered his fellow students. Shaken by the experience, Luke vanished soon thereafter when, according to Han Solo, he went in search of the first Jedi temple. That, seemingly, is where we find him at the end of ‘The Force Awakens’.

And personally? A Dark Luke is just not something I have any particular interest in seeing, save perhaps in a “What if?” scenario. Not only have I read (and been underwhelmed by) ‘Dark Empire’, but more importantly, such a turn would completely undermine Luke’s arc throughout the original trilogy (which George Lucas once eloquently summed up as “Where Anakin says yes, Luke says no”).

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.