It turns out that we could have seen a young Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens that would have been played by someone other than Mark Hamill. Back in 2015 before the movie was actually released, there were rumors swirling that actor Robert Boulter had been cast to play this younger version of Luke in the movie, which marked the franchise's return to the big screen after a decade. Thanks to a newly leaked image, we now know these rumors had some truth to them.
The image in question first showed up on Reddit and was later shared on Twitter. We see Robert Boulter dressed up just like Luke from The Empire Strikes Back during his famed duel with Darth Vader. As it turns out, Rey's Force vision from The Force Awakens was originally going to include a bit of the duel between Luke and Vader, which is where Boulter comes in. The scene was ultimately cut, but apparently, it got far enough along for this image to exist.
For whatever reason, J.J. Abrams decided not to include this bit into Rey's vision, but it provides an interesting look behind the curtain into the development process and gives us some interesting "what if?" scenarios to chase down in our minds. The idea of someone else playing Luke Skywalker, chief among them. Mark Hamill is Luke. That is the way many Star Wars fans see it. But we've had someone else play Han Solo, so is it really that crazy to think someone else could suit up as Luke at some point? Though, it's possible that Abrams would have tried to put Hamill's face on Robert Boulter, similar to what was done in Rogue One with Tarkin and Leia. We may never know.
Rey's Force vision, as is, still remains one of the more important and intriguing moments in the new trilogy thus far. It's where the Knights of Ren are introduced, it's where we get our first look at Luke's troubled years of trying to rebuild the Jedi order and oh so much more. Throwing in some footage of Vader and Luke would have only added more significance. But it also would have taken a little something away from Luke's reveal at the end of the movie and it may have taken a bit of the wind out of the sails when it came to bringing Vader back in Rogue One. It seems like cutting this out may have been for the better.
While we wait for any information regarding Star Wars 9, little bits like this is what we're left with. For the time being, J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm are keeping a tight lid on things. It's quite likely they're going to save most of the reveals for Star Wars Celebration 2019, which takes place in April. Be sure to check out the leaked image of Robert Boulter as Luke Skywalker from Adam Frazier's Twitter account below.
Rey’s "Force Vision" in THE FORCE AWAKENS originally included Luke & Vader's duel from The Empire Strikes Back. The scene was cut but thanks to Reddit, we're finally getting our first look at what ESB Luke would have looked like in TFA, played by Robert Boulter. Wild stuff. pic.twitter.com/oMWl7cM72Q— Adam Frazier (@AdamFrazier) November 26, 2018