Although there is a new young Jedi heading up the Star Wars franchise these days, you can’t forget about Luke. He may be playing more of a mentor role in the new films, but he still has a special place in many fan’s hearts. Grab your favorite lightsaber and take a seat as we explore 24 facts about this iconic Jedi.
Luke Skywalker Facts
24. Faster Luke, Kill Kill!
Skywalker has such a nice ring to it, but Luke almost ended up going by a much darker name: Luke Starkiller was the name Lucas used in all the early drafts of the script. Mark Hamill even claims that name lasted into production. However, Lucas finally decided that Starkiller was maybe a little too evil-sounding for the hero of his space opera, and he scrapped it.
23. Voicing Villains
Mark Hamill may have made his big screen debut by playing Luke, but these days he spends his time performing in voice acting roles. He lent his voice to Batman’s greatest enemy The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and its spinoffs, video games, and other media. He’s won multiple awards for his voice performance of the iconic villain. Hamill has also voiced a Sith Lord in the animated show Star Wars: Clone Wars.
22. Figuring it Out on His Own
Luke didn’t really have much in the way of Jedi training. Yes, he does spend some time with Obi-Wan when he first meets him A New Hope, but he was way too old to learn from the start. Obi-Wan Kenobi teaches him philosophy and other important things about The Force, but over the next three years, he was pretty much left to figure it out for himself. That’s how much time passes between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. So while it may seem be became an expert wielder of The Force overnight (which would have been extremely impressive) that wasn’t the case.
21. Car Accident
Actors can get hurt on set, but usually their private life stays off the big screen. While nearing the end of production for A New Hope, Hamill was involved in a car accident. The accident was so bad that he needed his nose and left cheek fixed as a result of a fracture. The Wampa attack scene was moved to appear earlier in the film according to Carrie Fisher, to explain why Luke’s face looks different. George Lucas has disputed this, saying that while it makes for a good background story, the passage of time is the real reason why Luke’s face looks different in The Empire Strikes Back.
20. A Hangry Wampa
Speaking of the Wampa attack scene in The Empire Strikes Back, Mark Hamill has said that he felt misled about the way that the scene was filmed. He was under the impression, when swinging the lightsaber, that he would just be singing the Wampa’s fur to scare him away, not decapitating a limb. Why the bleeding heart reaction? Well, according to Hamill, it showed “unnecessary cruelty” on the part of Luke, and that the Wampa was just “hungry, not evil.”
19. Sexual Identity
Does Luke prefer men, women, or both? It’s a bit of a mystery, as it was never addressed in the original trilogy, and it’s been a topic of heated debate among fans. Hamill himself has responded, saying “His sexuality is never addressed in the films. Luke is whatever the audiences want him to be, so you can decide for yourself.” In the expanded universe of Star Wars Legends, however, he does marry Mara Jade. Keeping this aspect of the character’s lifestyle mysterious reinforces his position as an audience surrogate—the character through which the audience enters the universe of the film (or in this case, films). Making Luke’s sexuality ambiguous allows for any and every fan to identify with the character, so cheers to Star Wars for being so diverse and inclusive long before it was trendy.
18. Meeting Obi-Wan
Another heavily debated fact among fans is how many times Luke and Obi-Wan encounter each other. According to the novel A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy, the film version is not the first time he has encountered him. Luke actually met and was saved by Obi-Wan at the age of eight years old. Luke does not remember the rescue, but he does remember how Obi-Wan watched over him.
17. Deleted Scene
There’s a famously whiny and annoying line said by Luke to his uncle Ben: “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.” If it seemed like a non-sequitur or irrelevant, it’s because it was actually the set piece for a deleted scene. In the scene, Luke does exactly what his uncle predicts and “wastes time with his friends,” including Biggs Darklighter. Biggs informs Luke he plans to run away and join the Rebel Alliance, and it’s speculated that this may played a part in Luke’s desire to help Leia and Obi-Wan. It’s too bad this scene didn’t make into the final version of the film.
16. Training with Yoda
If there is one thing in particular that fans like to nitpick and debate about, it’s the amount of time that Luke actually spent training on the isolated planet of Dagobah with Yoda. One source says six months, while another states that Dagobah exists in its own time, separate from the rest of the galaxy. So basically, there’s no real clear answer.
15. Freedom 53
When we get a glimpse of Luke at the end of The Force Awakens, it’s clear that he’s aged significantly. Don’t judge a book by its cover though, he’s really not as old as he looks. In fact, he’s only 53 years old! Still pretty young for a Jedi Master. Hamill is 64 years old, so there isn’t a huge age difference. The reason he may look so much older? Well just take a look at where he’s living—that kind of climate isn’t good for anyone’s complexion.
14. Let’s Talk Lightsabers
Up until his battle with Darth Vader in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke was using his father’s old lightsaber. Not much was known about the new one that he built on his own between then and Return of the Jedi until very recently. Much more is revealed to us in a children’s book called Return of the Jedi: Beware The Power of the Dark Side! For example, Luke spends the months between his Cloud City duel with Vader and saving Han from Jabba’s Palace finding pieces for his new saber. He wasn’t able to fully complete it until he took a trip back to Tatooine and searched Obi-Wan’s place for the final important missing piece.
13. Character Creation
George Lucas got his inspiration for Luke’s character from a few different places. A combination of Flash Gordon and heroes from mythology are said to have played an important role in the character of Luke, as well as the way his story would play out. King Arthur’s background is very similar to that of Luke’s, and although Luke isn’t a ruler he does grow on to become a well respected mentor and advisor. Lucas has also said that he took inspiration from the Joseph Campbell book The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
12. Named After His Creator
Ever observed that George Lucas and Luke’s names seem familiar? It wouldn’t be the first time someone crates a character after themselves. Way back in high school, Lucas’s nickname was—you guessed it—Luke. Lucas, of course, has never admitted or denied these rumors so make of that what you will.
11. The Freddy Krueger Influence
You probably wouldn’t associate A Nightmare on Elm Street with Star Wars but there’s an important connection. Robert Englund, who brought Freddy to life, was Mark Hamill’s roommate in the 1970s. It was Englund who gave him the heads up about the Star Wars audition. Englund auditioned but Han Solo but it didn’t work out, leaving the door open for Harrison Ford’s iconic performance. So, in a way, we can thank Freddy himself for both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker!
10. The Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational
Don’t even mention the words Star Wars Holiday Special to Mark Hamill or you may regret it. After that musical fiasco, he landed a role in, of all things, The Muppet Show. Hamill appeared with C-P30 and R2-D2 in 1980, one year before The Empire Strikes Back hit theatres. Surprisingly, it’s a pretty good sketch, and is available to watch on YouTube, so I won’t spoil it for you.
9. Tempted by The Dark Side
The ending of the original trilogy could have taken a very dark turn. Originally, Luke was supposed to pick up Vader’s mask and become the next Vader. This was one of the ideas Lucas was contemplating when trying to figure out an ending for The Empire Strikes Back.
8. Taking A Backseat
The Force Awakens was all about Rey, but it left some fans craving Skywalker action. Sadly, in order to keep the focus on a new Jedi helming the franchise, they purposely kept Luke’s appearance very brief. The rumor mill was churning, with reports that there was no room for him in the story and that Hamill simply wasn’t free to shoot. Fans had to wait two years to see what Skywalker’s role in The Last Jedi would be.
7. Ghostly Appearances
We finally saw the ultimate fate of Luke in The Last Jedi, as he appeared as a Force Ghost before his body seemingly disintegrated from the sheer power needed to make that appearance. Of course, any fan of the Star Wars Legends expanded universe may have expected this, as he has appeared as a Force Ghost, alongside both Obi-Wan and Yoda for years.
6. Many Different Careers
When coming up with the character of Luke and deciding on his background, the part where he grew up on a farm came pretty late to George Lucas. At first, he was written as a Jedi General and as a holy man. Finally, Lucas settled on the naïve, pure of heart farmhand that we all know and love today.
5. Alternate Timeline Lukes
Many actors tried to land the important lead role for Lucas’ space adventure. We could have had a very different face had they succeeded. Others who were seriously considered included William Katt, who went on to star in The Greatest American Hero, and Charles Martin Smith, who had previously worked with George Lucas in American Graffiti. It was ultimately Hamill’s natural charm that won him the role.
4. Living Abroad
Although Hamill was born in California, he didn’t always live there. His Dad was actually a captain in the US Navy, and he spent many of his formative years in Japan.
3. EGOT Material
Mark Hamill got his start on television, on General Hospital. He’s also done quite a few stints in different Broadway shows, including Amadeus. Talk about expanding your horizons!
2. Cameo Appearances
Young Skywalker didn’t just appear in the original three films. He also appears very briefly at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Yes, he’s only a baby at the time, since the scene shows Padme just having given birth to him and Leia after Anakin had nearly killed her. He is then whisked away to Tatooine, and that’s where the story we all grew up with begins. More recently, of course, fans saw him for the first time in years in The Force Awakens. And after all that waiting, he does have a much bigger part in The Last Jedi.
1. Physical Differences
There are a couple distinct differences between Hamill and Luke. Luke is right-handed while Hamill uses his left. Also, Luke is 1.72m (5’6”) tall, meaning that he is only 63cm (25”) taller than his faithful droid companion R2-D2.