The original Star Wars (opens in new tab) is a masterpiece of filmmaking – one that sparked a million children’s imaginations as they saw themselves in the young moisture farmer Luke Skywalker. Yet, despite the acclaim, the box-office, and the lasting legacy, Star Wars – later titled Star Wars: A New Hope (opens in new tab) – has a few detractors.
While he doesn’t hold ill will against the movie, Mark Hamill believes a deleted scene concerning his character would have added to the nuances of Skywalker’s beliefs. And that deleted scene still irks Hamill today, as the actor recently discussed the moment – which can now be watched on Disney Plus (opens in new tab) – with Avengers: Endgame (opens in new tab) directors The Russo Brothers on their new podcast (opens in new tab).
For some context, the scene sees Hamill’s Skywalker watching a battle going on above Tatooine. He rushes to share the news with some friends at a nearby hangout, and then Luke ends up talking with his friend Biggs outside. Biggs is set to be enlisted by the Empire but is looking to jump ship and join the Rebel Alliance.
“There a couple of things that are good for the character,” Hamill says. “Number one, he is ridiculed roundly by his peers. So he’s not particularly cool or popular. Koo Stark is the only other female actor in the movie and she calls me ‘Wormie’. So I am not popular.
“And then I bump into Biggs Darklighter, played by Garrick Hagon, and I go ‘Wow!’ You can see we’re good friends. He’s dressed in an Imperial uniform and I’m going, ‘Wow! That’s so great! I can’t wait until I can get off the dump of a planet and join with you.’ And he takes me outside and says, ‘Luke, as soon as I get the chance, I am going to jump ship and join the Rebels.’
“The only reason that is interesting to me is that Luke has no political persuasion. He thinks it’s great he is in the Empire! Luke wants to be in the Empire if it will get him off the farm! So he is completely pure in that he is not politically motivated in any way, shape or form.”
The idea that Luke would have considered one day joining the Empire just to escape being on a farm is certainly an interesting one and dents his characters a little. However, the scene was also set to be intercut with Princess Leia’s ship being taken over by Darth Vader.
When the initial cut of the movie screened to George Lucas’s fellow filmmakers, including Francis Ford Coppola, they complained about the pacing. Watching the scene back now – which slowly unravels – it’s easy to understand why Luke’s character development was snipped in favour of a faster, more urgent opening. For more Star Wars coverage, check out our piece on how A New Hope was almost initially a disaster.