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Was Mark Hamill’s Luke-Han-Leia Reunion in THE FORCE AWAKENS a Good Idea?

Was Mark Hamill’s Luke-Han-Leia Reunion in THE FORCE AWAKENS a Good Idea?

After waiting more than 30 years after Return of the Jedi to learn what had happened to our favorite Star Wars characters, The Force Awakens forever denied us an onscreen reunion between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. That decision didn’t just disappoint lots of fans, it saddened at least one member of the galaxy far, far away: Mark Hamill. In an interview with Fandango (that we came across at The Wrap), Hamill said he was “absolutely” bummed that Luke and Han didn’t see one another in the film, especially that he wasn’t there when Han died.

“It would carry so much emotional resonance into the next film,” he said, “For us–his wife, his best friend–to witness, instead of two characters that know him, what? 20 minutes?”

(Don’t worry, he remembered Chewie was there.)

A month and change later, Hamill doubled down on the idea in a conversation with Vanity Fair as part of their Hutt-sized The Last Jedi cover story:

“Now, remember, one of the plots in the earlier films was the telepathic communication between my sister and me. So I thought, Carrie will sense that Han is in danger and try to contact me. And she won’t succeed, and, in frustration, she’ll go herself. Then we’re in the situation where all three of us are together, which is one of my favorite things in the original film, when we were on the Death Star. It’s just got a fun dynamic to it. So I thought it would have been more effective, and I still feel this way, though it’s just my opinion, that Leia would make it as far as she can, and, right when she is apprehended, maybe even facing death—Ba-boom! I come in and blow the guy away and the two of us go to where Han is facing off with his son, but we’re too late. The reason that’s important is that we witness his death, which carries enormous personal resonance into the next picture. As it is, Chewie’s there, and how much can you get out of [passable Chewbacca wail] ‘Nyaaarghhh!’ and two people who have known Han for, what, 20 minutes?”

The idea of Luke and Leia rushing to his rescue, only to make it in time to see Han killed at the hands of his own son, would have undoubtedly been quite a moment. But would it have been better than what we got?

As we still don’t know what the main story of these three films truly is, nor Luke’s reasons for going into seclusion, we can’t really evaluate the question in the context of the larger narrative. Instead, let’s looking at what we do know of The Force Awakens,  both on a macro and emotional scale, to determine if Hamill’s idea would or wouldn’t have been the right choice.



It would have created a parallel to Obi-Wan’s death

Han’s death was one of The Force Awakens‘ best executed callbacks to A New Hope, with the Dark Side “son” striking down his “father” to strengthen his powers. No moment was more transformative to Luke’s original story than seeing Obi-Wan killed… even with Luke only having known Obi-Wan for like “20 minutes”! But reliving that experience with his best friend and nephew, in a situation he feels responsible for, would have at the very least come pretty close.

Luke would have literally faced the consequences of his failures

The little we do know of Luke’s recent years is that he failed at playing a mentor for Ben Solo, and then ran off into seclusion. Having him arrive in time to see the very tangible consequences of his actions could have been one of the most significant moments in his arc. His new story would be one of redemption or guilt, instead of heroism and bravery.


He would have seen his greatest fear from the original trilogy come true

Luke’s love of his friends drives him to leave Yoda and his training on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back, a decision that almost ended in total disaster for all of them. It’s that same love for his friends that the Emperor used against him in Return of the Jedi. But considering this new trilogy has forever altered the seemingly happy ending of the original movies, having his greatest fear come true (because he abdicated his responsibilities, no less) would have had the potential to be the single darkest moment in Luke’s life.

It could have been the most emotional moment of the entire franchise

Hamill is right. Rey and Finn hardly knew Han Solo, so the emotionality of the scene falls on those of us in the audience who’ve spent years of our lives with the scruffy-looking nerf herder. So imagine if Luke and Leia there too, with their deep and lasting connections to Han. With how much we care about the Skywalker siblings, watching them watch him die would have dwarfed the emotional resonance of any death or scene in any Star Wars film.



It might have felt emotionally cheap

Think about everything that took place to logically get Han, Chewie, Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren into that one fateful scene. What kind of narrative gymnastics would have been required to also add Luke and Leia there? Even beyond the machinations of the plot, having so many characters witness Han’s death would have made it felt more like a spectacle rather than an honest moment. And once something starts to feel more like fan service–both as a story and as an emotional stunt–it undercuts all the resonance of the scene.

This is Rey and Finn’s story, not Luke and Leia’s

In the same way the original trilogy was really his story and not Anakin’s, these new movies belong foremost to Rey and Finn. We’ve seen Luke experience this kind of loss before with Obi-Wan, and with Han’s death, we experience the same in Rey. If Luke and Leia were on hand for the scene, their reactions would have easily stolen our attention… but this isn’t all about them anymore.


It’s also Kylo Ren’s story

On a related note, there’s only so much empathy, understanding, sadness, and anger that the moment can handle before it begins to wear thin. Some of that had to go to Kylo Ren, whom we’re just beginning to understand.

A similar situation made Luke the hero he became

Luke’s absence from Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s murders added another layer to his grief and guilt over the experience—it was also this moment that convinced him to set off on his adventures. But whereas he may not have been responsible for Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s murders, he may find it tougher to absolve himself this time around, given his relationship with Kylo Ren and his decision to jump ship. His absence here could lead to even greater–or darker–things for him, making for an even more dynamic character and journey.

It’s even sadder (and more honest) for Luke to have been absent

On a strictly emotional level, Luke not being there feels honest, relatable, and realistic. How many of us have wished we could have had a chance to say goodbye to a loved one? Life doesn’t always cooperate with those wishes, and the people we love often leave us before we get to see them one more time. You don’t always get to script a final farewell.

Still, Mark Hamill isn’t wrong to have wanted Han and Luke to have had one final moment together. We’re just not sure he’s right, either. What do you think? Would The Force Awakens have been better with this Han and Luke reunion? Let us know!

Images: Lucasfilm

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