There are very few roles in movie history so iconic that recasting them would be tantamount to sacrilege. There's Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly from the Back to the Future movies and Keanu Reeves' Neo from The Matrix films. Also included in that shortlist of iconic roles is none other than Mark Hamill, who is best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the original prequel Star Wars trilogy.
So, when the showrunners behind The Mandalorian season 2 bring back Luke, if only for a brief moment near the end, it made sense not to recast Mark Hamill and incorporate his likeness using some digital trickery.
Now, we've got photo proof that Hamill made a physical appearance in order to portray a younger Luke.
It wasn't all Hollywood magic after all
In recent years, film technology has evolved to the point that it is even possible to bring deceased actors back to the big (and small) screen.
One of the most recent examples of this is Paul Walker at the end of Fast & Furious 7. The actor had passed away midway through the filming of the 2015 action movie, so the filmmakers had to use special effects to recreate him in certain scenes, with his brother Cody Beau Walker standing in as a body double.
While audiences suspected that this is what happened with Hamill's Luke Skywalker appearing near the very end of The Mandalorian season 2, it appears that Mark Hamill was physically there.
For those that don't know, Mark Hamill portrayed his iconic role once again in The Mandalorian season 2. After spending much of the season looking for a Jedi mentor for young Grogu, Din Djarin, portrayed by Pedro Pascal, finds the best one yet with Luke Skywalker. Having been drawn in by Grogu's latent power, Luke swoops in to save Din and Grogu, as well as the rest of their allies. Because this was not leaked or hinted at before the premiere of the season 2 finale, Hamill's appearance was easily one of the biggest surprises of 2020.
Nearly a year later, the hype behind Hamill's return hasn't died down yet. Disney wants to cash in on this by releasing a behind-the-scenes special via its streaming platform, Disney Plus.
Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian will premiere in August on Disney+ and explore everything that went on behind the scenes while filming the Star Wars spin-off. Before the new episode premieres, Disney+ released a quick shot of Hamill on set wearing his iconic Jedi wardrobe, as he prepares to portray Luke Skywalker after all these years.
What's next for Hamill's Luke Skywalker?
We know that Disney had to work its magic to make Hamill appear as he once did in The Mandalorian while portraying Luke. However, it's nice to know that it wasn't all digital. Even if it would've been understandable to shoot the entire scene with a stand-in, bringing in Hamill to shoot certain aspects while playing Luke Skywalker is going above and beyond.
Luke's appearance was a welcome surprise for fans who felt that the last that they'd see of Hamill's Luke Skywalker was in 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The latest Disney Gallery episode is set to air on August 25 and should give fans more insight into everything that went on behind the scenes in the filming of The Mandalorian, as well as exactly how Disney brought Hamill back in time.
Speaking of Hamill's Luke Skywalker, we can't exactly rule out the possibility of him returning in The Mandalorian season 3, especially after seeing these posters. We already know that he's gone away to train Grogu in the ways of the Jedi. This suggests that he and Grogu might pop in occasionally in subsequent seasons, especially now that Lucasfilm has brought onboard someone a lot better at digitally de-aging Hamill.