Star Wars: Fans were left split over one Luke Skywalker scene in particular
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Die-hard Star Wars fans have waited 34 years for Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, to once again pick up his iconic green lightsaber.
After very briefly appearing in the final moments of 2015’s Star Wars The Force Awakens, audiences were finally treated to some flashy action – only to witness Luke die.
The great big battle scene at the end of the movie saw Leia Organa and her ragtag group of Resistance rebels stand off against the might of the First Order on the salt plains of planet Crait.
When all hope seemed lost, Luke finally returned from his self-imposed exile to challenge his nephew, the new Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.
After a brief exchange of words, the two Force users entered a blinding fast lightsaber duel, only to have Kylo slice his uncle in two. Or so it appeared.
As it turned out, Luke was actually millions of light years away on the planet Ahch-To, where the Jedi master was projecting a Force-hologram version of himself across the galaxy.
In his final moments, Luke told Kylo know that he will not be the last Jedi, hinting that from then on it is up to Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, to restore balance to the Force.
“See you around kid,” he quipped just seconds before vanishing with a smirk.
The film then cut to a visibly exhausted Luke in the abandoned Ahch-To Jedi temple, where he had been hiding for several years.
However fans were quickly left heartboken after the old Jedi fades into thin air only to have his cloaks drop to the ground – mirroring the death of Obi Wan Kenobi at the hands of Darth Vader in 1977’s Star Wars A New Hope.
Rey, who felt Luke’s passing from across the galaxy told Princess Leia that it was a calm and peaceful death, suggesting that her teacher had finally become one with the Force.
Star Wars: In final battle scene, Luke confronts Supreme Leader Kylo Ren
Star Wars: Fans were disappointed when Luke died to join the Force after death
But many fans were left outraged by Luke’s death. One Reddit user going by the name of Throwaway-_-123123 was upset with how under-utilised Luke’s character felt in the film.
I can be in Episode IX! I might consider catering the film just so I can hang out
He posted online: “I really didn’t like that they had Luke Skywalker at their disposal, the most celebrated character of the franchise, all to just have him die by sitting on a rock and fading away like some Buddha at the end.
“They could have done so much more with him in the next movie.”
Another user, Tylerks279, complained: “The Luke projection scene. That was stupid. Have him actually show up and fight. Luke was mishandled in the movie to begin with.”
But not all hope was lost on fans, and some have held onto the belief that Mark Hamill could still reprise his role in Star Wars Episode IX as a Force Ghost.
Reddit user Killerjoe13 said: “I thought it was obvious he’ll be back. He’s become more powerful than Kylo could ever imagine. He’ll be there to help Rey train a new generation of Jedi.”
In Star Wars lore, a Force Ghost is the soul and life essence of a Force-sensitive being who has become once with the mystical power.
Obi Wan returned as a Force Ghost in Return of the Jedi, Qui-Gon Jin was revealed to have mastered life after death at the end of Return of the Sith, and even the ghost of Master Yoda appeared in The Last Jedi – powerful enough to call down a lightning strike with the Force.
Hamill himself revealed that he is now holding onto the last thing he told Kylo before departing.
Speaking at a post-screening Q&A in the US, Hamill teased: “I had huge hesitance. I was terrified. It was a growing sense of dread when I realised this was going to make sense in that chapter.
“I think the hero’s journey of Luke Skywalker concluded in Return of the Jedi. This trilogy is the hero’s journey of Rey, and Finn, and Poe.
“The ongoing story of Luke is one that has to play in tandem with that of Rey.”
He added: “I can be in Episode IX! I might consider catering the film just so I can hang out.”
Star Wars fans will now have to holdout until 2019 to find out if Luke will return to complete the saga in the form of a Force Ghost or if this was indeed the very last time he appeared in the iconic role.
Star Wars Episode IX will be released in UK cinemas on December 20, 2019.