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Mark Hamill Reveals The Disturbing Sequence That Almost Opened The Force Awakens

When Disney made its monumental $4 billion purchase of "Star Wars" and the entirety of Lucasfilm in 2012, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the franchise returned to the big screen. Sure enough, the news broke that we were all due for a return to a galaxy far, far away in 2015, and thus the wait began. Dubbed "The Force Awakens," the seventh installment in the Skywalker saga promised to pick up where 1983's "Return of the Jedi" left off, honoring the series' rich legacy while reinventing it for a new generation of moviegoers.

To put it lightly, the arrival of "The Force Awakens" met great fanfare from all sides. The likes of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) got yet another moment in the spotlight, sharing it with newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Not to mention, it introduced us to the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance, several new planets, aliens, ships, and more. Sure, it followed an eerily similar structure to 1977's "A New Hope," but it was a fun big screen adventure nonetheless.

As one could imagine, the "Force Awakens" we know today wasn't always comprised of the moments, characters, and locations that it is. In the three years it took to make the film a reality, it went through drastic changes, as all cinematic ventures do. That includes leaving a gruesome alternate opening scene on the cutting-room floor that Mark Hamill himself recently brought to light.

The film almost opened on Luke's severed hand

Mark Hamill dropped this nugget of information via Twitter on October 8, 2021, corroborating a claim about the opening sequence of "The Force Awakens" made by @UberFacts. "Fact Check: TRUE," he wrote first and foremost, going on to explain the scene in detail. "As my hand hurtled through the stratosphere, the flesh & bone burn away & the lightsaber impales the surface of an unnamed planet," Hamill said, jokingly adding, "Just imagine: Had this sequence been retained, I would've had bookended cameos, plus TWICE the screen time!"

Kicking off the first "Star Wars" movie in a decade on a shot of Luke Skywalker's severed hand — the one he lost during his famous duel with Darth Vader in "The Empire Strikes Back" — would have been a smart move in theory. After all, it would have provided a bit of context as to how Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) wound up with the Skywalker lightsaber to give to Rey later in the story. At the same time, that's a pretty morbid description of the hand falling to pieces — one that would have been even harder to look at had director J.J. Abrams and his team kept it in.

Perhaps someday we'll learn how Maz came to own one of the most enigmatic weapons in all of popular culture, but until that day comes, feel free to add this scrapped scene to your "Star Wars" headcanon.