Why The Mandalorian team didn’t re-cast Luke Skywalker for the finale cameo

Mark Hamill is Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian season 2. Photo: Disney+.
Mark Hamill is Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian season 2. Photo: Disney+. /

The Mandalorian season 2 finale really delivered its all when it dropped on Disney+ last December. Fans were met with the surprising reveal that Luke Skywalker was the one who had responded to Grogu’s call when he was in need of a Jedi to train him. And not only that, but it was Mark Hamill himself who reprised the role of Luke Skywalker.

Because the series takes place between Episode VI and Episode VII, we were meeting a younger version of Luke than we last saw him in the sequel trilogy. And that meant digital de-aging effects had to be used on Hamill to make him appear like his younger self. The effects were met with mixed reviews — some not minding the digital de-aged look on Hamill and others finding that the effect fell into the uncanny valley.

But, whatever the case, it was Mark Hamill who played the character once again. And according to one of The Mandalorian‘s visual effects directors, that was always in the plan.

ILM Animation Director Hal Hickel revealed this to The Resistance Broadcast, saying Hamill was always their choice to play the role of Luke Skywalker in the finale. He told the podcast:

"That particular aspect of the effects of season 2 is probably the thing I can talk about the least… But I will say this. One, it was always important for everyone involved to have Mark involved. So it’s not just like “Well, we are recasting and we’ll deep-fake over him.” Mark had to be involved with crafting the performance and he was. He was there on set when the scene was shot… he was totally involved all the way through."

In the interview, Hickel also mentioned that the director of the season 2 finale had some prior experience working with the digital de-aging effect, so it helped immensely. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed returned to direct that final episode, and Hickel noted that in the MCU, he had experience using the de-aging effect on Michael Douglas for the younger version of his character Hank Pym.

Will Mark Hamill play young Luke again?

With the door wide open for Hamill to play a young Luke Skywalker again without jumping into the fountain of youth, it’s possible that Hamill will return in other capacities to play young Luke. For example, we had already seen him in the younger role during the flashback training scene between Luke and Leia in The Rise of Skywalker. So if they’ve done it once, they can do it again.

Also, The Mandalorian season 3 may call for more Luke anyway. Half of the series is about Mando, but the other half is certainly dedicated to Grogu. That means we just may see what it’s like for The Child to be trained by a Jedi again once he’s at Luke’s academy.

There’s also the possibility that Luke will show up in other series as well. A novelization of The Mandalorian was recently canceled because The Mandalorian universe is ever-expanding. It includes the addition of tie-in series like The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and Rangers of the New Republic — so it’s possible no series is off the table for Luke.

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Did you like the de-aged Luke Skywalker? Or would you like to see the character re-cast completely? Let us know in the comments!