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Since its first episode, The Mandalorian has been able to pack more than a few Baby Yoda-sized secrets up its Beskar armor. And the second season of the hit Disney+ Star Wars show proved no different as it shocked fans yet again, with another jaw-dropping character reveal that nearly broke the Internet.
Spoilers ahead for the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian on Disney+!
The final moments of the Season 2 finale saw the introduction of another Jedi master, one that little Grogu himself had called out to a few episodes before. But unlike some of the fan favorites who'd made an appearance earlier in the season — namely fellow Mandalorians Bo-Katan Kryze and Boba Fett, and rogue Jedi master Ahsoka Tano (soon to get her own spin-off) — the face that appeared was one that didn't need much introduction: Luke Skywalker, played by none other than Mark Hamill himself, albeit much younger-looking.
The actor, who originated the role and starred in the trilogy that kicked the whole franchise off, tweeted about his appearance on the show a few days after the episode dropped onto streaming and the internet furor had died down, including a picture of himself with his finger on his lips.
"The fact that we were able to keep my involvement a secret for over a year with no leaks is nothing less than a miracle," said the Batman: The Animated Series voice actor. "A real triumph for spoiler-haters everywhere! #LooseLipsSinkStarships #STFU"
But just how did the reveal of Luke's CGI-assisted de-aged self come about?
Well, according to executive producer Jon Favreau (Iron Man), they'd been wary of spoilers getting out very early on, as every other piece of Season 2 casting had been leaked already.
"It was very tricky because it’s very hard to keep a secret nowadays, especially with Star Wars because people are so curious about it," said Favreau during a recent appearance on Good Morning America. "And there are so many people involved with the process with visual effects finishing, making it, filming it, the studios...everything. Every piece of casting leaked, and we were so scared right up until it aired that our surprise cameo was gonna leak too."
He went on to compare the reveal of Hamill's appearance as Luke to another big surprise from the show's first episode: the introduction of Baby Yoda The Child Grogu.
"We started off the whole series with the Baby Yoda reveal, with the Grogu reveal, that was a secret that everybody was really blown away by," continued Favreau. "Part of that is not telling too many people, not having merchandise that’s being tooled up and announced and everything. And then the very last episode having Mark Hamill actually on set filming and us using whatever technology we had available to de-age him and try to make him look as much like he did in the old films."
But while the character on screen certainly looked like Luke as played by Hamill, there was one other actor involved in making the appearance of the younger version of the character a reality. After all, even as spry as Hamill is, The Mandalorian itself takes place after Return of the Jedi and so would have to feature a still-younger version of the character than would eventually appear in The Force Awakens.
Hence, the body of this Luke was played by Max Lloyd-Jones (iZombie). There's no news if he'll be reprising the role again, though there is a chance he might have to, should Luke make another appearance in Season 3 — especially if his latest charge decides he's done with his Force training and wants to go back to his adopted dad.
The Mandalorian has been renewed for a third season, which will enter production after the surprise Boba Fett spinoff series wraps shooting.