'The Force Awakens' Was Originally Going To Include Luke's Severed Hand According To Mark Hamill
The Opening Of The Movie Was Going To Be Very Different
One of the most iconic moments in Star Wars is the first on-screen confrontation between our hero, Luke Skywalker, and the vile villain, Darth Vader. This duel, beginning in the Cloud City carbon freezing chamber and raging throughout the cities infrastructure, has some of the most stunning visuals, breathtaking moments, and intense choreography of the trilogy. It is also the prelude to a scene that has been canonized into the halls of timeless pop culture. The revelation that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father. This revelation is made all the more world-shattering, for audiences as well as Luke, due to Vader's mutilation of Luke moments before, securing victory in their duel. With a looping parry, Vader knocks aside Skywalker's blade and slices through his wrist, sending Luke's hand and weapon careening down through the abyss below Cloud City.
Many assumed this would be the last time we saw the blade, given to Luke by his first Jedi master, Old Ben Kenobi. His father's lightsaber, taken from the defeated Vader on Mustafar, now forever lost in the Tibanna gas mines below Cloud City. However this was not to be, as the saber of Anakin Skywalker made a surprise appearance in The Force Awakens, in the possession of the pirate queen, Maz Kanata. While we aren't given an explanation as to how Maz ended up with the lightsaber ("a story for another time"), the director of Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams, intended to include not just Luke's lost saber in the film, but his lost limb as well.
Mark Hamill, the man behind Luke Skywalker, is no stranger to Twitter. Often taking to social media to interact with Star Wars fans, sharing fan-art and cosplay, as well as providing a behind-the-scenes look into the sets, cast, and scripts of his projects. In this case, Hamill is using the platform to confirm Star Wars trivia. After the page UberFacts tweeted out a very brief summary of the original opening to the movie, Hamill followed up with his own tweet (which can be seen below) confirming the original "fun fact" while providing some additional details.
The scene Mark Hamill describes would be a surprisingly macabre way to start Disney's sequel trilogy. Rarely does the house of mouse deal with severed body parts or an excess of on-screen mutilation. Especially considering Hamill describes the hand as "burning away" as it plummets through a mystery planet's atmosphere. Disintegrating hand aside, this opening scene was probably best left on the cutting room floor as it distorts the cohesion of the film and feels more at place in an early sci-fi movie filled with rubbery monsters and robots with vacuum tube limbs. It also doesn't help solve the mystery of Maz's custody of the weapon as there seems to be no explanation of how the saber travels from "impaling the surface of an unnamed planet" to residing in a chest in Maz's basement. This also begs the question of how the hand, still clutching the saber, made it's way from the bowels of Cloud City, out into space.
This isn't the first time that Luke's lost hand made a brief appearance in a Star Wars story however. In Timothy Zahn's first Thrawn trilogy, Heir to the Empire, we find an Imperial cloning facility on the planet Weyland, ruled over by a Dark Jedi by the name of Joruus C'baoth, the Force-sensitive clone of a Jedi Master who was killed shortly before the Clone Wars. After being unable to turn Luke to the dark side of the Force, C'Baoth resorts to desperate measures, using the Imperial facilities on the planet, and Luke's lost hand, to create a clone of Skywalker that C'Baoth christens "Luuke". This clone confronts his donor, the true Luke Skywalker, wielding the lightsaber that was thought lost on Bespin. While this trilogy of novels is now considered Legends, it no less diminishes the value and impact of the story and how it can affect Star Wars storytelling going forward.
Perhaps these Force-sensitive clones will be the thread that ties stories like The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian together, now that the planet Weyland has made an appearance in the final scene of the Bad Batch Season 1 finale. Who knows what dark sciences the Empire will task Nala Se with studying? Perhaps her discoveries will play into the Imperial science facility on Nevarro seen in The Mandalorian that many believe is growing prototype Snokes. If this is the case, there is a distinct possibility that a tissue sample from Luke's severed hand could be the key to unlocking Force-sensitive cloning in the current cannon.
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Writtesn by Weston Erickson
Syndicated from Culture Slate