Star Wars: The Last Jedi ended on a double heartbreaking note. Fans already knew that a year previous, Carrie Fisher, who plays General Leia, had passed away, and would not be in Episode IX. Then the series had Luke pass away the way Jedi do, fading into the ether. The original trio from the first trilogy was over. But are they really? Mark Hamill, who plays Luke, is still alive. The character could return as a "Force Ghost," as Obi-Wan and Yoda have done. Will Mark Hamill return to Star Wars? While fans would like the answer to be yes, the truth is, Hamill is much less sure.
Hamill has been very outspoken since returning to the series. His Twitter account is highly active, and he is quick to give his opinions on the new films. Sometimes he steps in it a little, like when he admitted he wished Luke hadn't turned his lightsaber on Kylo Ren in the latest film. (He then backtracked.) He's revealed production spoilers and story changes. He's even declared that the only way to watch the films is in chronological order.
So, it's not surprising that when asked about Episode IX, Hamill was brutally honest about how he felt.
Talking to ABC News, Hamill spoke from the heart, and how the grief of loss has changed his view of the films.
It really has tarnished my ability to enjoy it to its fullest. You were asking earlier, ‘Are you gonna come back?’ I don’t care anymore, on that level. Because Han Solo is gone, Luke is gone. You just can’t get the band back together the way you wanted it to be, and it shouldn’t be that way. It is what it is. Rather than being sorry that we can’t have more of her, I’m just grateful that we had the time with her that we did.
Harrison Ford is still alive, but he's done with the series, except as a consultant. He used to say the only reason he would come back is if they killed his character off, and J.J. Abrams obliged. He's not coming back.
Fisher may have passed at the end of 2016, but her death is one that Hamill is reminded of daily ever since. Imagine if one of your oldest friends passed away, someone you've been close to for nearly 50 years. And then, for the next year their death was there, front and center, everywhere you looked, with every trailer drop, every marketing push, every event you attended, for going on 18 months and counting. Survivor's guilt is a hard road even without having to live through that.
Hamill is right — you can never get the band back together. Time passes, people change. His excitement to come back has changed, too. And he's right that trying to "replace" Fisher (as some have suggested) is the wrong answer. Rather than trying to fill the Leia-shaped hole in our lives, we should embrace that we had her in the first place, and cherish those memories.
This doesn't mean that Hamill will never come back to the series. If (or when) Abrams comes calling to ask him to cameo as a Force Ghost, Hamill may very well agree. It's Star Wars, and it's the last one in the original nine episodes George Lucas planned. But it's not like it was, and it never will be. Mark Hamill is the last one standing at the end of the Skywalker Saga. If he decides he's done for good, I for one, will not blame him.
The as-yet-untitled Star Wars Episode IX is due to arrive in theaters Dec. 20, 2019.