This Star Wars: The Mandalorian article contains spoilers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: From Mike Cecchini
This one’s on me.
While the realities of running a site like this often mean we have to cover spoilers when we see people are looking for answers, the way we went about this one was wrong. As a result, we’ve spoiled The Mandalorian ending for many of you. This certainly wasn’t done out of malice, or even greed, but I was careless and ultimately it was thoughtless.
And when I say “we,” I mean “me.”
This was my call, and it was the wrong one.
While covering spoilers is unavoidable when we see readers are searching for answers, we usually try and hide things as best we can, without putting them on social media or the front page. My rationale is usually that you have to be searching for a particular spoiler in order to find it. However in this case, I forgot one crucial component: Google’s Discover function means you don’t even have to be searching for something in order for it to be shown in your feed. Which makes this far worse than if we had been shouting about this on social media or given it the largest position on the homepage.
This isn’t on Alec Bojalad, a brilliant writer and editor who does everything he can to make this site everything it can be, this is on me. If something isn’t right on Den of Geek editorially, that starts and ends with me. The article remains here, in full, under a new headline and main image, and hopefully this limits the damage for other fans.
I can’t give you that experience back, but I can apologize.
Savvy, Force-sensitive bunch that they are, many Star Wars fans felt the impending arrival of a certain green lightsaber-wielding Jedi in The Mandalorian’s near future. After all, Grogu summoned a Jedi in “The Tragedy” and it’s not like there’s an abundant supply of Force-users out there in the show’s continuity. Naturally, those same fans had some strong opinions on who should portray the post-Return of the Jedi, pre-Force Awakens version of Luke Skywalker.
Sebastian Stan, The Winter Soldier himself, was the most popular fancast. Not only does he have a certain moisture farm boy vibe, but if he can play Tommy Lee, then he can play just about anyone. Well as we now know The Mandalorian season 2 finale, “The Rescue”, does feature the return of Luke Skywalker. And to everyone’s surprise he’s played by none other than…original actor Mark Hamill? Well, sort of.
Like an android’s nightmare, a version of Hamill’s younger visage is digitally grafted onto that of another, more age-appropriate actor. Portraying the body of Luke Skywalker is the London-born Max Lloyd-Jones. The show credits him as “Double for Jedi” making it extremely clear just who he’s doubling for. This isn’t Lloyd-Jones’s first time acting as a double for a CGI creation. His IMDb notes that his most prominent role is that of the chimpanzee “Blue Eyes” in War for the Planet of the Apes. He has also appeared in the flesh in series such as Project Blue Book, iZombie, and Switched at Birth.
Of course, the Star Wars franchise is no stranger to using body doubles for CGI versions of older characters. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story infamously used computer graphics to bring back versions of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin and Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa. Industry-wide, however, the usage and norms of digital recreations of human actors is in its relative infancy. Sometimes it’s unclear who “owns” certain performances of digital characters. In this case, however, it’s at least clear that Lloyd-Jones played a significant role in bringing The Mandalorian’s Luke Skywalker to life. Just as David Prowse brought the frame to Darth Vader while James Earl Jones brought the voice and soul, Lloyd-Jones provides the canvas of Luke Skywalker upon which Lucasfilm’s computers do their strange, uncanny work. (In this case, that’s also Hamill’s voice on The Mandalorian.)
Fans may be disappointed that they didn’t get their dream casting of Sebastian Stan this time around, but if he was only going to be providing the body anyway, that probably would have been a bit of a waste of Disney’s money. And cheer up, everyone. There are plenty more original trilogy characters for Stan to play in The Book of Boba Fett. One day, we’re gonna get a whole clone army of Sebastian Stan.