Mark Hamill is synonymous with one of the most iconic pop culture characters, Luke Skywalker. He has been the face of the Star Wars franchise. However, Luke Skywalker almost didn’t exist in the initial script. When Hamill was asked about one movie role he tried out to surprise his fans, the actor replied, Luke Starkiller.
According to the Star Wars lead, his initial name on the script was Luke Starkiller and they also shot with that for a few months before George Lucas changed it for good.
Surprisingly, there is a dark story involved behind Mark Hamill’s name change in the intergalactic saga. George Lucas changed the name as it had disturbing connotations.
Why was Mark Hamill’s character name changed by George Lucas?
It is surprising to know that the iconic Luke Skywalker was almost about to not exist in the franchise. Reportedly, for a long time in the initial drafts, Luke Starkiller was the name given to Mark Hamill‘s character. It was revealed by Hamill on his X (formerly Twitter) account that he was “sad” about his name being changed from Luke Starkiller to Luke Skywalker.
Luke Starkiller.My name in Tunisia & London, months into prod. Filmed the “I’m LS here 2 rescue U!” scene w/ it. sad https://t.co/XPYaWjtbRG
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) October 26, 2015
The Tatooine portions in Star Wars: A New Hope were filmed in Tunisia and this statement made it evident that the name was Luke Starkiller for many scenes that were filmed there. However, many fans must be scratching their heads for the potential reason for this name change. It was a move by George Lucas who thought that the name had disturbing connotations.
George Lucas was of the notion that the name showed Mark Hamill’s character as someone like Charles Manson. In The Making of Star Wars, Lucas stated that the name had a negative connotation (via Yahoo)- “That I did because I felt a lot of people were confusing him with someone like Charles Manson. It had very unpleasant connotations.”
Charles Manson was the infamous person who killed the popular Hollywood actress Sharon Tate. Due to the connection with such a disturbing incident, George Lucas thought it would be best to change the name to Luke Skywalker. However, Starkiller was also not forgotten and made its comeback later in the intergalactic saga.
How did Starkiller return to the Star Wars saga?
Even though George Lucas had to drop Starkiller in Star Wars: A New Hope, the name was not forgotten by the universe. While Mark Hamill couldn’t get the name, a video game character became fortunate enough to have that name. In the game series The Force Unleashed, the character Galen Marek who was Darth Vader’s personal assassin went by the codename “Starkiller”.
The name Starkiller was also featured in the first movie of the Sequel Trilogy. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Starkiller Base was the name of the primary base of The First Order. Precisely, it was to them what Death Star was to the Galactic Empire.
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