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2019’s The Rise of Skywalker marked the close to the nine-part epic about Anakin Skywalker, his children Luke and Leia, and Rey, who isn’t related but decided to take up the name at the end of the Sequel Trilogy. But even as young Anakin mused upon the problems with sand and Rey did Force Facetime calls with Kylo Ren, for many fans, Luke Skywalker remained the de facto main character of Star Wars, thanks to his starring role in the best of the three movie trilogies. It’s one of the reasons why Lucasfilm has been so keen on digitally resurrecting the character for recent Disney+ shows despite The Last Jedi completing the Jedi Master’s story.
But it’s time to retire Luke, according to Mark Hamill. While doing press for the comedy The Machine, Hamill caught up with CBS News Sunday Morning (via Variety) to reflect on his long run as the Jedi hero. When asked if he would be interesting in donning the robes of Luke Skywalker again in the future, the actor suggested his time was up: “Well, you never say never, but I just don’t see any reason to,” he said. “Let me put it that way: I mean, they have so many stories to tell, they don’t need Luke anymore. I had my time, and that’s good. But that’s enough.”
It’s hard to disagree with Hamill’s assessment. Star Wars is an expansive universe with plenty of stories to tell and new characters to explore. Since The Rise of Skywalker, the franchise has focused on establishing itself on television, with the nostalgic space Western The Mandalorian and the more politically-minded Andor earning critical acclaim and leading the charge into different corners of the galaxy. Two more upcoming live-action shows, The Acolyte and Skeleton Crew, are set to expand the Star Wars universe even further, with the former even exploring an era set 100 years before The Phantom Menace that we’ve never even seen before on screen.
Of course, The Mandalorian and its spinoff The Book of Boba Fett have hardly left Luke behind, and even before these series brought the Jedi Master back, the actor made the requisite Force ghost appearance in Rise of Skywalker. The younger version of Luke featured on the Disney+ shows was only made possible by digitally de-aging Hamill’s face with deepfake tech and using other performers as body doubles. It’s a controversial choice made all the more cringeworthy by the fact that Lucasfilm used AI to recreate the character’s voice for his cameo in Boba Fett. The creative decision has raised all kinds of ethical questions — namely should studios be allowed to use AI to emulate human performances?