Star Wars is endlessly vast in its ability to build worlds and tell intergalactic stories. The franchise creates its lore through its novels, comics, video games, television series, and most famously, through its nine-part film saga. While Star Wars fans are notorious for causing unrest inside of their own fandom, the prequel trilogy is considered to be a sacred part of the Star Wars universe. The events of the prequels describe the downfall of Anakin Skywalker leading up to the birth of his children, twins Luke and Leia. Luke Skywalker may not be the star of the prequels, but Mark Hamill is quick to praise the trilogy.
While he sat out during the prequels, the actor was complimentary of George Lucas’ controversial three-part entry that won fans over but heralded the harsh responses from film critics. “I was impressed the prequels had their own identity,” Mark Hamill said to IndieWire, “They were criticized because they were exposition-heavy and more cerebral and probably like he said back in 1976, they weren’t as commercial. It’s a darker story. But in the age of social media, people’s voices are amplified, and I’m shocked at how brutal they can be, not just in the case of Star Wars films, but across the board.”
Mark Hamill first introduced audiences to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and his most recent billed casting as the Jedi Master was in the form of a surprise cameo during The Mandalorian‘s Season 2 finale. He returned for the sequel trilogy, where the seventh and ninth episodes were directed by J.J. Abrams, and the eighth was directed by Rian Johnson. Even after the wake of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, fans drive the debate about the trilogy’s legitimacy in canon, and the quality of the movie. Colin Trevorrow was initially behind the now-scrapped Star Wars: Duel of the Fates, whose leaked script deemed Trevorrow’s work to be unforgettable, possibly the best Star Wars movie that never happened.
Not everyone has been as complimentary towards the prequels as Mark Hamill has been. Star Wars editor Marcia Lucas spoke up about her personal experience watching Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace and was quoted in J.W. Rinzler’s book, Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life. She admitted that she was moved to tears because of how poorly made she thought the movie was made. She said that she thought “[Lucas] had such a rich vein to mine, a rich palette to tell stories with,” and mentioned the characters that he had at his disposal. The Star Wars editor criticized the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, commented on her distaste for the casting, and took note of how CG-saturated the prequels were.
Lucas equally took aim at the sequel trilogy, saying “the storylines are terrible. Just terrible. Awful. You can quote me – ‘J.J. Abrams, [Lucasfilm President] Kathy Kennedy – talk to me.‘” Though he was brought back in The Mandalorian, the Disney+ series takes place before Skywalker’s on-screen death during Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, concluding Luke Skywalker’s lifetime. It’s only appropriate that Luke died while casting one final look at the twin suns of Tatooine, and remains undetermined if Mark Hamill will return to the franchise as a Force Ghost.
Even if The Mandalorian concludes Mark Hamill’s time with the Star Wars series, it’s a truly memorable and emotional way to send off the long-time star. More Star Wars stories will continue to be told into the 2020s, through more seasons of The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and other original series that will be distributed as Disney+ exclusives. Taika Waititi has been appointed to direct a Star Wars movie of his own, and Johnson will return to oversee an additional cinematic trilogy. Even with the high volume of Star Wars content on the way, the prequels will remain to be cherished by fans. The Book of Boba Fett, which was teased during the post-credit scene of The Mandalorian, will arrive on Disney+ in December 2021.