The official cast list for Star Wars 9 has been released and, to the joy of millions of Star Wars fans, the ninth installment in the saga will feature the return of Mark Hamill in his iconic role of Luke Skywalker. Hamill will be one of three veteran Star Wars actors returning to the galaxy far far away, as Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams will also be returning.
While Luke Skywalker is one of the most essential characters in the Star Wars franchise, many fans were unsure if he would return for the next movie, considering that he died at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The central theme of The Last Jedi was about moving on and letting go of the past, which helped to set up Episode IX, which was initially believed to only include the new cast with no veteran cast members outside of Anthony Daniels included.
There's currently no report on how involved Mark Hamill and Luke Skywalker will be during the events of the movie. More than likely, a majority of Luke's time on screen will be in flashbacks and as a Force Ghost. Rey still needs a teacher, and considering that she is now the last Jedi alive, the only reasonable mentor for her would be the ghost of Luke Skywalker. Force Ghosts previously appeared in the Original Trilogy, but they didn't have too big of an impact, only appearing once or twice throughout the course of the movie. However, with the new technological resources available to Lucasfilm, Force Ghosts will now be a lot easier to pull off, so Luke will be able to appear a lot more than Obi-Wan and Yoda did.
There's a strong possibility that Luke will appear in flashbacks as well, specifically covering the origin of Kylo Ren. Ben Solo's descent into darkness was shown a bit more in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but fans still have questions. If Star Wars: The Last Jedi's reception told Lucasfilm anything, it's that if they don't answer these burning questions for fans, the fans will riot. Plus, the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker training Padawans was the version of Luke that many Star Wars fans initially wanted to see, so showing more of this side of Luke would be a genius move from Lucasfilm.
Earlier rumors claimed that a Force Ghost of Yoda would appear in Episode IX to train Rey, but based on the casting announcement, this role will instead be filled by Luke. Perhaps we will see more of Luke's arc during this next movie, finally showing Luke becoming the Jedi Master that he was destined to be. This would certainly please fans, and would undoubtedly do his character justice.
All things considered, it will be great to see Mark Hamill return to the galaxy far far away one final time, even if it is only as a Force Ghost or in flashbacks. This announcement by Lucasfilm is sure to please Star Wars fans and will hopefully help restore some faith to this iconic franchise. You can see Luke Skywalker one final time when Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters December 22nd, 2019.