Luke Skywalker’s heroic return in the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian stunned fans, and his appearance in The Book of Boba Fett continued to spark a multitude of conversations. The reason for all the hubbub?
Luke looked almost as young as he had in Return of the Jedi, which was released over three and a half decades ago!
So, how did Star Wars accomplish this? How is Luke Skywalker young in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett?
Mark Hamill’s version of Luke was recreated using CGI and voice technology, along with the physical presence of younger actors. The technology was used to make Hamill’s face look younger, and the additional actors performed the motions of the role.
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How Old is Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett?
Both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett are set about five years after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. This would have been in the year 9 ABY (after the Battle of Yavin).
Luke Skywalker was born in the year 19 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin), so he would have been about 28 years old by 9 ABY.
At this point in his history, Luke would have been a Jedi for several years; as such, he would have gained a great amount of power and knowledge in the Force.
This is shown in the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian when Luke easily takes out an army of Dark troopers that are about to destroy Din Djarin and company.
However, in 9 ABY, Luke had not yet officially started his Jedi Academy. Though he took on Grogu as a student in The Mandalorian, it is later seen in The Book of Boba Fett that Grogu leaves his training behind to return to Din Djarin.
It was after this time when Luke began the Jedi Academy and took on his nephew, Ben Solo, as his first official student.
How is Luke Skywalker Young in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett?
The return of a young Luke Skywalker to the screen was perhaps the best-kept secret leading up to The Mandalorian’s Season 2 finale. But once the big reveal was made, many fans were left wondering:
How did the producers pull it off?
After all, nearly 40 years had passed between the making of Return of the Jedi and The Mandalorian. And yet, within the Star Wars timeline, only 5 years had passed.
Anyone who saw the Sequel Trilogy knows that Mark Hamill, Luke’s original actor, looks much different now than he did in 1983 when Return of the Jedi was released. And yet, it was a young version of Hamill’s Luke Skywalker that we saw saving the day in The Mandalorian.
As it turns out, Hamill was used in the recreation of his younger character, but he only played a small role.
CGI was used to “de-age” Hamill, who was 69 at the time of filming for The Mandalorian. In both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Hamill’s face was dubbed onto the body of a younger actor, who in turn performed all the stunts and motions.
Meanwhile, his voice was used to create dialogue using a computerized program known as Respeecher.
Though the original CGI received criticism for not looking very realistic, Luke’s appearance was noticeably improved in The Book of Boba Fett. Aside from these improved effects, young Luke Skywalker was recreated in much the same way as he had been in The Mandalorian.
Who Played Young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett?
As noted, Luke Skywalker who appeared in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett looked a lot like Mark Hamill in the mid-80s. This is in part because Hamill was involved in recreating the character he made famous.
But, considering Hamill was much older during the filming of Mandalorian and Boba Fett, he was not the only actor involved.
At the end of The Mandalorian, actor Max Lloyd-Jones was credited as being “Double for Jedi.” This means that he was the one actually performing the role in the movie; he performed the stunts in the battle scene, and Hamill’s de-aged face was dubbed over his body.
Later, in The Book of Boba Fett, two other actors were credited with bringing a young Luke Skywalker to life. Graham Hamilton was the “Performance Artist” and Scott Lang was the “Stunt Double.”
While it remains unclear how the two split the role, the way it was done remains basically the same. In each scene, Mark Hamill’s younger face was dubbed over the face of the actor, while the actor performed the actual motions and actions.
CGI in Star Wars: The Future
Using CGI and various actors, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett proved that pretty much any character could be brought back to the screen, no matter how much the original actor had aged or changed in appearance.
In fact, before either of these Disney Plus series had been created, CGI was used to bring back Grand Moff Tarkin and a young Princess Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
So the question remains: will Star Wars continue to bring back old characters using CGI?
It remains to be seen, of course, but the potential is certainly there. Thanks to CGI and various high-tech programs, the producers of future shows and movies could easily bring back any character they wanted to, returning them to their original appearance.
Mark Hamill’s “young Luke Skywalker” was recreated for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett using CGI to dub his de-aged face onto the bodies of various younger actors. Similar technology was used to portray Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia in Rogue One.
Using this same technology, Star Wars producers could continue to bring back original versions of characters for future shows and movies.
Sarah Hood is a freelance content writer and editor with a love for all things Star Wars. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, singing, and spending time in the great outdoors.