Of all the Star Wars characters, Luke Skywalker is probably the most iconic. Yes, there’s Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and yes, there’s the Emperor. But, Star Wars began with the young Luke, and without him, there wouldn’t be a galaxy far, far away. It’s his story.
Part of that story in the Star Wars movies is Luke learning to become a Jedi knight, and that means lightsaber duels. There’s surprisingly little lightsaber fighting in the original trilogy, but we do get to see Luke swinging his laser sword around a fair few times, most memorably in his fight with Vader in Cloud City. According to Mark Hamill, though, Lucas had rigid rules when it came to Luke’s fighting style.
“I worked with Peter Diamond who was the stunt coordinator, and Bob Anderson who doubled Vader, who was an Olympic Fencing champion, so there was intensive training,” said Hamill, speaking with StarWars.com.
“We had worked out a sequence we were all particularly proud of. And I’m talking weeks and weeks of this…and we said, ‘Let’s bring George [Lucas] in.’ [So] we brought George in to look at what we had done.”
Unfortunately, while Lucas appreciated the hard work, he requested on major change. “You can’t take your hands off a lightsaber. You can’t hold it in one hand,” Lucas told Hamill and the choreography team.
“And we said, ‘What?’ We had choreographed stuff where, you know, we did spins around and we did various things….He didn’t want us to ever take both hands off the hilt. So we had to go back and re-choreograph that whole thing.”
As it turns out, Lucas had a very strict vision of how he imagined Luke would fight and it involved the Jedi always having a two-handed grip on his hilt. Now that it’s been pointed out, you’ll be able to see it in all of Luke’s fights. In fact, it’s something that your eye will always be drawn to from now onwards.
While it might seem like a minor detail, Lucas has very precise visions for the style of fighting for each of his Star Wars characters. Vader used slow but powerful swings, Anakin was all about speed and aggression, and Obi-Wan was a master of a more defensive style. It’s all part of creating the characters and making sure the choreography fits in with who they are, even if that comes at the sacrifice of some neat tricks, like spinning.
For more on Star Wars, keep up to date with what we know about the new Star Wars movies. Or, learn about what’s going on over in the world of TV with our explainer on the Ahsoka release date and Andor season 2 release date.
You can also learn about the best Star Wars movie you’ve never seen, or see why Rian Johnson says Mark Hamill doesn’t own Luke Skywalker.