It's hard to watch the teaser for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and not think of it as something new and exciting. And it is! It's also something that's been in the works for a very, very long time.
For everyone who wasn't around to remember the release of "Return of the Jedi," both the prequel and the sequel trilogies were George Lucas' plan all along, and Mark Hamill even talked (via Screen Crush) about his eventual return in interviews back then.
"[Lucas], at one time, said, 'Would you consider playing an Obi Wan-type character, handing Excalibur down to the next generation?' I said, 'When would that be?' At the time, he said, 'Oh, 2011.'"
Sure, Lucas' estimation was off by a few years, but that's pretty damn close when we're talking that far into the future.
And that wasn't the only interview where Hamill talked about Lucas' vague (at the time) plans for Luke Skywalker. A 1983 interview with Maria Shriver is particularly interesting because of how Hamill says the ending of "Return of the Jedi" will make the eventual "Episode VII" almost impossible.
(Skip to the three-minute mark.)
"It's either going to be on another plane of existence or not the same character and I can't really tell you why without getting into sensitive material," Hamill said. "When you see the ending [of 'Return of the Jedi'], you'll see why it has to be the last one, period."
Another plane of existence? Now, I've seen "Return of the Jedi," and I have no idea what Hamill is talking about. Maybe the plan changed at some point, but it wouldn't be the first time that such a shift took place.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" opens on December 18, 2015.