Before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, George Lucas oversaw the Star Wars universe and introduced the world to some of the most iconic characters in Hollywood history, while creating a cultural phenomenon. Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker is one of those characters and long-time fans were shocked to see what Rian Johnson did with the character in The Last Jedi. The optimistic character that we all know and love was replaced with a bitter old man, who returns to form at the end of the movie and then dies. According to Hamill, there are some pretty big differences with how George Lucas and Disney handle the Star Wars franchise.
Mark Hamill has the benefit of having worked on the Star Wars projects with George Lucas as well as Disney and he says that there is a big difference between the way that the new movies were put together compared to how Lucas would work. And while the main difference is obvious, it could very well be the reasoning behind a lot of the backlash or even the reason behind why some enjoy the new trilogy. Hamill compares the Disney way of doing things to a relay race. He had this to say.
"Remember, George had an overall arc (in the original trilogy). If he didn't have all the details, he had sort of an overall feel for where the three were going. But this one's more like a relay race. You run and hand the torch off to the next guy, he picks it up and goes. Rian didn't write what happens in 9 - he was going to hand it off to, originally, Colin Trevorrow and now J.J."
Some will say that the "relay race" technique that Disney has been using for the Star Wars movies isn't working. However, it is those types of changes that have led to some interesting storylines and arcs for characters that will be made all the more interesting with J.J. Abrams coming back to direct the final movie in the new trilogy. On the other hand, it could also added to the turmoil that has gone on behind-the-scenes of some of these new Star Wars films, including the firing of Chris Miller and Phil Lord from Solo and the firing of Colin Trevorrow from Star Wars 9, to name a few.
The latest Star Wars trilogy could be looked at as an experiment that may have been better off for a separate trilogy. Rian Johnson is currently working on his own trilogy that will focus on new characters outside of the Skywalker storylines, which is a return to the George Lucas way of doing things. Perhaps, J.J. Abrams would have been a better choice to do the latest trilogy, directing all of the movies. We'll never know, but fans will definitely voice their thoughts and concerns regardless of who is helming the project.
George Lucas may have known the story and what he wanted to do, but that doesn't always mean that it was for the best. Return of the Jedi had its fair share of critics and then the prequel trilogy came along. Additionally, Lucas went back and tampered with the original films, which was seen as blasphemy by most hardcore fans. Basically, it all comes down to personal opinion and the "relay race" is working for some Star Wars fans. IGN conducted the interview with Mark Hamill where he discussed the differences between working for Disney and George Lucas.