The Mandalorian‘s season 2 finale dropped on Dec. 18 and fans were unsurprisingly abuzz about it. Whether it was the general action-packed excitement of the episode or its implication for the future of the series, there was much to discuss.
Chief among these topics was a surprise cameo that came right before the episode cut to credits. While some speculated that the character could appear, few considered it likely. Yet here we are. Now, viewers are left to wonder how the appearance was pulled off and who was involved.
[SPOILER ALERT: The rest of this article is one big spoiler for The Mandalorian season 2 finale. Reading on before watching it is not the way.]
‘The Mandalorian’ featured a shocking ‘Star Wars’ cameo
Near the end of the finale’s climactic battle, a hooded figure with a familiar green lightsaber appears. After making easy work of some dark troopers, the figure confronts Mando (Pedro Pascal) and company. Removing his hood, he’s revealed as none other than… Luke Skywalker, looking like actor Mark Hamill circa 1983.
Turns out, Luke heard Grogu/Baby Yoda through the Force in episode 6, “The Tragedy,” and he’s there to take the little guy in. Despite Grogu’s hesitance, Mando removes his helmet in front of him for the first time and tells him to go.
And that’s it for now! Cut to credits and a post-credits scene teasing yet another spin-off series.
So, wait, how is Luke Skywalker back?
Good question, and one that many fans had when the finale first dropped. Speculation was rampant that Hamill himself had returned for the scene and been digitally de-aged. So much so that the actor is still listed on the episode’s IMDb page. (At least, at the time of writing he still is.)
But sharp-eared viewers will note that Luke sounds nothing like Hamill, now or in 1983. In truth, the answer lies towards the bottom of the IMDb page’s cast list: Max Lloyd-Jones, credited as “Double for Jedi.”
Luke Skywalker was brought to life for the episode by using Lloyd-Jones as a body and voice double while using motion-capture CGI to give him Hamill’s youthful visage. It’s a solid effect (at least, in this writer’s estimation), but just as with most attempts at digital de-aging, others were less impressed. Lloyd-Jones is no stranger to motion-capture roles, having played Caesar’s son, Blue Eyes, in 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes.
Star Wars has been no stranger recently to digitally recreating actors that have either died or aged out of the look needed. Rogue One famously (or, infamously, for a lot of people) used the technique to bring back Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and a young Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) to the screen, using Guy Henry and Ingvild Deila as body doubles, respectively. Most recently, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker created young versions of Luke and Leia for a brief flashback, using Lukaz Leong and Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, as doubles.