Warning - This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian on Disney+ has been revolutionary in several ways. In addition to being the first-ever live-action Star Wars series, the Disney+ show has revolutionized filmmaking through its use of the Volume technology.
Still, much of the show's success isn't related to tech, but rather its fresh, new characters with connections to Star Wars stories past.
The Mandalorian's sophomore season featured an impressive string of character cameos from prior Star Wars projects, but one in particular topped them all thanks to some help from Disney's other tentpole franchise.
MARVEL'S ROLE IN BRINGING BACK LUKE SKYWALKER
In the latest episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian titled "The Making of the Season 2 Finale," Luke Skywalker star Mark Hamill shared how two MCU directors, Marvel's de-aging tech, and more convinced him to return to that galaxy far, far away.
In the behind-the-scenes episode, Hamill talked about the gaps in time between the different trilogies and the potential for "all these untold stories."
However, if a Luke Skywalker-driven tale was ever something the studio would revisit, Hamill always assumed "they'd get an age-appropriate actor:"
"When they went from the original trilogy to the sequels, obviously there was this huge gap in time, where there's all these untold stories. But I just assumed they'd get an age-appropriate actor, you know? And I didn't really think about it all that much. I just thought, 'If they wanna tell stories of Luke post-Return of the Jedi, I wonder who they'll get?'"
Naturally, he was surprised to learn that he could be the age-appropriate actor thanks to de-aging tech Marvel Studios had used for Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kurt Russell, and Robert Downey, Jr. in multiple films.
According to Hamill, "When they said they were gonna use the de-aging process they used in the Marvel movies, I was just gobsmacked!" Still, he didn't agree to it right away.
Later on in the documentary, Ant-Man director Peyton Reed - who directed The Mandalorian's Season 2 finale - explained that he sees Hamill as being "very protective of this character, and rightfully so."
In fact, to Hamill, this opportunity to play Luke again was, to him, "almost a responsibility:"
"But the more I thought about it, 'This is a really an opportunity that was completely unexpected, but something that almost was a responsibility.' In other words, if they're saying they want me to do this, how can I say no?"
Peyton Reed brought the script for the finale to Mark Hamill's home along with Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian's executive producer, who also directed Marvel's Iron Man and plays MCU character Happy Hogan.
They also brought Luke's wardrobe and Grogu/Baby Yoda for good measure.
According to Favreau, he knew this would mean "so much to so many people" and "to Mark" as well:
"We knew if we could pull this off, it would represent so much to so many people. Especially to Mark. To let him come in there and show Luke at this moment, and let it be a celebration..."
Fortunately, everything played out exactly as if it had been scripted. Hamill loved the script and has been open in his praise for the series and its creators.
And, as for audiences, seeing Luke Skywalker in his prime wasn't just a gift for the fans, but one of the best moments in the franchise's history.
A DIFFERENT RULE OF TWO
Some speculated Disney's ownership of both Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm could lead to projects cannibalizing one another. However, it seems that the two franchises have actually managed to help one another over the years.
While Star Wars has been the better for adopting Marvel's de-aging tech and benefiting from Marvel creatives like Reed and Favreau, Marvel Studios followed The Mandalorian's lead and released its own live-action series to huge success and acclaim.
Marvel Studios has also utilized The Mandalorian's groundbreaking Volume tech for Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as well as Thor: Love and Thunder.
But for many fans, Marvel's greatest contribution to that galaxy far, far away will likely always be the role it played in bringing Mark Hamill back as Luke Skywalker. But, if Marvel could get Nick Fury's Samuel L. Jackson to reprise his role as Mace Windu, that would be great too.
Both episodes of Season 2 of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian are streaming on Disney+.