With 38 days to go until The Last Jedi officially opens, Lucasfilm — and Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill — are setting their phasers to “troll.”
A new international poster advertising the IMAX 3D version of the movie consists of two giant panels. One has a white background and features characters and objects we think of as light side (Rey, Finn, Poe, Leia, Rose, the Millennium Falcon, a blue lightsaber); the other has a grey background and pro-First Order, Dark Side figures (Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, Star Destroyers, TIE fighters and a red lightsaber.)
Here’s the thing: Luke features prominently in both panels.
The second shows Luke looking very “darkest timeline,” his hood shrouding his features. Supreme Leader Snoke — the shadowy figure behind the fascist-loving First Order — is conspicuous by his absence.
So is this sending a message that Luke turns to the Dark Side in the movie — or becomes a “Grey Jedi,” a concept left over from the old Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels? Are Luke and Supreme Leader Snoke connected in some way?
Or could it just, perhaps, be clever, troll-worthy marketing from Disney to make us think Luke is going to the Dark Side — just as we were supposed to fear he would way back in Return of the Jedi?
The Force is strong with the latter explanation. Fans will always see more than is intended in posters, teasers and trailers, and Star Wars custodians know that.
Consider the fact that an earlier poster was supposed to suggest Luke was turning to the Dark Side too — because he was at the apex of a shape that looked a little like Darth Vader. Indeed, Vader has appeared in that position in previous Star Wars posters.
But in the Japanese version of the same poster, Rey is in the Luke position. Last week, Mark Hamill — Luke Skywalker himself — used this fact to poke fun at the fans and their theorizing. He quoted the 1968 Beatles song Glass Onion, in which John Lennon mocked his fans for reading too much into the nonsense verse of I Am the Walrus.
Hamill has been teasing fans about Luke being Rey’s father ever since he appeared next to Daisy Ridley at Star Wars Celebration in April. “It’s great to be here with … my daughter,” Hamill joked, meaning that Rey is almost certainly not a Skywalker.
Continuing his 1960s musical theme this weekend, Hamill tweeted the IMAX poster with a quote adapted from Joni Mitchell’s classic Clouds:
Likewise, we wouldn’t waste too much time on Grey Jedi theorizing if we were you. Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo has been trying to gently nudge Star Wars Twitter away from that notion for some time:
That doesn’t sound very Star Wars to me.
— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) November 5, 2017
That said, we also know Hamill wasn’t a fan of Luke’s role in the script when director Rian Johnson first revealed it to him, so something unusual is up with the character. And we know that much of the movie focuses on telling his story.
We’ll find out what’s actually going on with Luke when The Last Jedi blasts off on December 15.
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