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How The Mandalorian Landed On Luke Skywalker's Look For The Show

Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian
(Image credit: Disney+)

Luke Skywalker’s appearance in The Mandalorian Season 2 came as a shock to many, especially when we saw a digitally de-aged Mark Hamill reprise the role. It was kept super secret ahead of its release, but now that Luke’s appearance and departure with Grogu is more or less public knowledge, Lucasfilm creative art manager Phil Szostak shared the story of how the character’s updated look came to be. 

Surprisingly, the amount of thought that went into Luke Skywalker’s aesthetic in The Mandalorian Season 2 took more thinking than one may assume. Phil Szostak talked to in the promotion of his book  The Art of The Mandalorian (Season 2) and explained how Luke’s look came together for the show.

But yeah, for Luke, especially the aesthetic of his look is just about being faithful to what you know. But it’s more what you think you know versus what it actually is. It’s almost like an elevation or a sketch of your memory versus being exactly, precisely one-to-one with the last time we saw him in the timeline, which would have been, you know, Return of the Jedi, and the supplemental narrative material that he was in for Battlefront II.

Phil Szostak really blew my mind with that description, even though it makes total sense. Speaking as someone who isn't at all familiar or skilled in art, referencing a picture of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker close to his appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi just clicks. With that said, going off memory and making a similar depiction can create a level of authenticity that better helps make Luke feel like a real living person. No wonder "grown men cried" over the character's return.

Part of creating an authentic look also falls on the outfit and mixing things up a bit. Phil Szostak elaborated more on that idea and how that includes giving Luke a new outfit for his Mandalorian debut.

You don’t want to just assume that Luke only has, like, one pair of clothes. [Laughs] So, you know, something that would be appropriate to who Luke was, and that’s recognizable and as iconic as his Jedi look in Return of the Jedi. But also updating it and bringing it to the modern age, and just making slight tweaks. It’s that balance between remaining faithful yet bringing something new to it or just translating it into something that will work for the purposes of this particular show.

Phil Szostak also revealed that a number of artists involved didn’t even know about Luke Skywalker’s cameo, as the script contained references to Jedi Plo Koon in his place. Szostak pointed out that The Art of The Mandalorian (Season 2) doesn’t feature any clear depictions of Luke, though there is an image of Plo Koon wearing Luke’s Jedi robe. Perhaps someone on the art team wanted to indicate they weren’t being fooled, or it's a sly nod at the privileged secret some on staff were trusted with. We can only speculate. 

The Mandalorian Season 3 is on the way to Disney+ and we already know quite a bit about what's coming up. Be on the lookout for more clues on what’s ahead via The Book of Boba Fett, which premieres new episodes on the streaming platform on Wednesdays.

Mick Joest
Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.