It's always tough to say good-bye to our heroes. For over 40 years, Mark Hamill has graced movie theater and TV screens with his portrayal of Luke Skywalker, delivering a character that embodied lessons of hope and optimism for kids of multiple generations. The handling of the character in the sequel trilogy left a sour taste in many fans' mouths, even for Hamill himself, as the character had a jarring portrayal in The Last Jedi before ultimately meeting his demise followed by a brief cameo "go get 'em" appearance in The Rise of Skywalker. The treatment of Luke in the trilogy will forever be a point of contention among the fans, but everyone can at least agree that seeing Hamill play the role again was a treat. The actor recently said on Twitter that he's officially done playing the character, and has since shed more light on why that's the case...
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mark Hamill explained why he feels his time playing Luke Skywalker is over:
Oh, I can't imagine that, no. I had a beginning, middle, and end. Those films gave me far more than I ever expected when we started out so it's never even occurred to me. My farewell was in Episode IX and it was bittersweet.
He went on to say that he feels grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime to play Luke and feels that he's not needed for Star Wars to continue:
I love all those people and I certainly have affection for George and the character he created. I'm full of gratitude for what it has given me and my career but I don't want to be greedy. There are still so many more stories to tell and so many great actors to tell them, they don't need me.
Hamill also discussed The Mandalorian, issuing high praise for the western set in space:
I think they have a wonderful advantage on The Mandalorian in that it's economical storytelling... It sort of gets back to the basics of George envisioning it as a western in space. It has that tone of a Sergio Leone Western. I'm very impressed with it and to me...
The actor explained that the confined story avoids the need to one-up the epic spectacles seen in the films:
They don't have the burden of delivering a gigantic special effects extravaganza like the films had to do... It's like the superhero movies that have to deliver these gargantuan epics. And with The Mandalorian, they can concentrate more on the characters and the storytelling. I think it's excellent.
UPDATE: During a video call with Entertainment Tonight, Hamill had more praise to offer for The Mandalorian:
My son said you have to watch The Mandalorian and I think it’s great how they were able to keep it so minimalist with the characters and the story and [still] keep it mainstream. I thought it was more in theme with what George [Lucas] wanted originally... [it] was superb. It was so well done.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Given the outcome of Luke's story in the sequel trilogy, it's hard to imagine a way for Hamill to reprise the role short of another saga trilogy, if he even desired. We've been so fortunate to have Hamill play the role for six films, as many never thought a set of sequels would never happen. He's been nothing but kind and gracious towards the fans over the years, and anything good to come in the future of Star Wars will in large part be built on Hamill's shoulders.
Hamill has discussed the brilliance of economic storytelling before, noting that Vader's first appearance in A New Hope as a black-clad warrior in a white ship did all of the talking for the character. It's evident that the actor has great admiration for George Lucas and his style of storytelling, as he cites the similarities of The Mandalorian to the Maker's intentions for the franchise. The hit Disney+ series certainly has the benefit of being more contained, allowing it to avoid competition with the theatrical Star Wars films that Hamill has helped bring to unfathomable heights of popularity.