You Cast ‘Star Wars: Heir to the Empire’ Round Ten: Luke Skywalker


Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Heir to the Empire was a blockbuster and boundary breaker: It broke out of the fan underground and onto the New York Times Bestseller list, broke down the boundaries between film and written word, proving succinctly that a story is never truly over as long as someone wants to hear more, and broke through the known limits of the Star Wars universe, exploring places that the original trilogy never did. Would we have had an Expanded Universe without Heir to the Empire? Probably not.

Heir to the Empire picks up five years after Return of the Jedi. The galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war after the defeat of Darth Vader and the Emperor. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins and Luke Skywalker is now the first in a long awaited new line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away the last of the Emperor’s warlords-the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn-has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet. He’s ready it for war and aimed it right at the heart of the fragile new republic.

Fans would love to see an Heir to the Empire movie, and we would too! To celebrate the 20th anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire, we’re going to indulge in a little game of what-if, and we’d like for you to play along. We thought it would be fun to try to cast each of the book’s major roles, and after a little email brainstorming, we came up with a list of likely candidates to portray the key characters. We’d like our readers to help narrow them down and cast the movie.

We’ll list a character each weekday and the five actors we think are right for the part. You simply vote for the actor you want to see win the role. Don’t like our choices? Cast a write-in vote using the embedded poll software!

Note, we had said we’ll be posting the winners on September 20th, but that’s now changing to September 22nd to give the last characters time to be voted on. All polls will close at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 21.

Oh, and we should mention that since it’s been decades since Return of the Jedi was filmed we’ll need to recast all of the characters, so we’ll be asking you to cast new actors in some of the saga’s most iconic roles. Controversial? Maybe. Fun to discuss? You bet!

Today’s character is Luke Skywalker.


Luke Skywalker: The son of Anakin Skywalker and Queen Padme Amidala, this humble farmboy grew up to become the galaxy’s greatest hero. The promised one who brought balance to the Force, Skywalker was on the forefront of the Rebellion’s war against the Empire. Now, a Jedi Knight, Skywalker is tasked with rebuilding the Jedi Order.

Here are five actors we think might make a good Luke Skywalker. Click the links to view their IMDB profiles, and then vote for your choice:

Cillian Murphy
Ryan Gosling
James McAvoy
Chris Pine
Taylor Kitsch



  • David

    Chris Pine? REALLY?

    Jake Gyllenhal wasn’t even considered?

    There’s your Solo-Organa-Skywalker mix right there: Cooper and the Gyllenhals. Easy Peezy 🙂

  • Kel

    Why do they keep suggesting these younger actors?!?!?! The movie they are making is Heir to the Empire. Which is set AFTER Return of the Jedi!!!! The actors have to look a little OLDER than Hamill, Fisher, and Ford. Have some common sense people, please!!!

  • echo 138

    Kel, they’re the right age. Heir to the Empire takes place only five years after ROTJ. Luke and Leia would be about 30. Almost all of the choices for Leia & Luke are 30 or older.

  • Peter

    Cilian Murphy? Really? Somebody needs to be fired. I say put sandy blonde hair on Matthew Bomer (White Collar) and you have yourself a farm-boy turned Jedi master.

  • The Casual Observer

    I think Cillian Murphy and James McAvoy are great picks for Luke. I see Murphy as a darker version of Luke, and McAvoy as an older version. Now, if only we could get someone to fit right in the middle

  • Anna

    Heir to the Empire is only 5 years after ROTJ, so they won’t look much older than they did in that movie.

    I went for James McAvoy.

    Chris PIne is more of a Han actor than a Luke.

  • Space Girl

    This may be the only one I’m not voting for…none of these actors seem right…. I have no suggestions either right now. Hmm…

  • pete

    has to be james McAvot , im sorry but chris pine is star trek

  • JediKR

    Again, 3 of the 5 are TOO TALL!! Luke is only 1.72M, which is around 5’7″…so who thought of Chris Pine at 6′?

    I voted for McAvoy, since he is closest to the right size, and fits the look for me.

  • Anna

    JdiKR, you are being a bit pedantic. Actually, a lot. Hight is pretty much the least important thing when looking for an actor. Lucus didn’t have a specific height in mind when he picked Hamill (or most of the other characters for that matter) for Luke, so why should that be a factor in picking another Luke?

  • Anna

    Too Tall? Really? I hardly think Lucus was thinking of a specific height when he cast Hamill, so I don’t think that should be a factor in re-casting. Acting ability should be first, and looks to a lesser degree and only in the sense that certain actors play the hero/Luke type while others play the anti-hero/Han type (Chris Pine would be in that category in my mind).

  • dpomerico

    Actually, I wonder if the “too tall” thing might make sense, considering Leia’s famous line “Aren’t you a little short to be a stormtrooper”? (I might not be getting that exactly right).

  • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

    Pine would be better as Luke’s descendent Cade Skywalker.

  • Ziro

    John Hurt

  • Kit

    They’re all too pretty.

  • Darth Verous

    Owen Wilson

  • B Smithers

    Cillian Murphy would be great. He resembles Mark Hamill to some extent, and looks like ‘Luke’ would 5 years after ROTJ (or could be made to look so). If you’ve seen him in ‘Breakfast on Pluto’ or ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’, it’s easy to see he can do drama acting as well as sci-fi like in later Batman movies.

  • Corellianrogue

    If by any chance Nathan Hamill can act then he should be cast as Luke Skywalker as he looks a LOT like his Dad!

  • hanimal

    Cillian Murphy – he looks shockingly like Hammil (but 5 years older than ROTJ Luke) plus he is a fantastic actor that needs a chance to shine, and could add a lot of Charisma to the roll.

  • LeiaForChiefOfState

    James McAvoy is an oscar nominated actor who is perfect for this role. Just watch Children of Dune (the SciFi Miniseries) to see what I mean.

    This is frustrating. Now I want this movie made. By someone other than George Lucas.

  • LeiaForChiefOfState

    awesome stuff.

    James McAvoy is an oscar nominated actor who is perfect for this role. Just watch Children of Dune (the SciFi Miniseries) to see what I mean.

    This is frustrating. Now I want this movie made. By someone other than George Lucas.

  • Squid

    ugh this is a tough one! Chris Pine looks more the part IMO, but i dont think i can allow Kirk to be Luke… im going with Cillian!

  • Moo

    Seth Gable from Fringe could probably pull it off. Otherwise I’m with Murphy.

  • David R VanLangeveld

    Because most of these actors are young, I went with Chris O’Donnell. Yes, he’s in his early 40’s, but he’s played heros before: D’Artangan in the 1993 remake of “The Three Musketeers” and Robin in “Batman Forever” and “Batman and Robin”. As a bonus, he looks like he’s still in his 30’s. Since Luke was 23 in “Return of the Jedi” and _Heir to the Empire_ takes place 5 years after “Jedi”, Chris O’Donnell could easily do the role.

  • wsk

    What about Alec Newman? (Paul in Dune mini series) – looks vaguley similar, small in height, has the ability to own the screen – see Dune.

  • Mary Ann

    Thanks wsk for that suggestion. I remember Children of dune and agree Alec would make a good Luke .

  • k.rob

    I’m a huge fan of Luke Skywalker, and I think the best thing to do is put a blonde wig on matthew bomer

  • Patrick

    These actors are all far too intense. Luke isn’t a badass or coolly calculating, or the angsty type. He’s calm, collected, wise beyond his years, confident, and still a kid at heart. Matthew Bomer, as suggested by several comments, is the closest I can think of. Most of these actors don’t smile, making them more of the badass types. James McAvoy looks too young and doubtfully convincing enough, and Cillian Murphy just looks too darn creepy. I have nothing against any of these actors, they are all talented, I just don’t want them near Star Wars.

  • Bilal Najib

    I think all of you guys are wrong those 5 don’t come near to Mark hamill, remember when you say Luke Skywalker you should think of him as a home boy who wants to get out of tattoine. And the face and looks with acting should be in the mould of Mark hamill who was unknown when he was hired for A NEW HOPE. I know an actor who would be perfect for him and would fit the policy of George Lucas hiring an unknown or atleast a newcomer sort of. His name is MAX ELLIOTT SLADE, he is mostly remembered as COLT in 3 Ninjas, he also appeared with Tom Hanks as his son in Apollo 13. He then left acting to complete his studies. He is also Martial arts trained. Not only that if you look his first 3 ninjas (appeared in 3 of them). he resembles of that luke skywalker looking into the horizon of 2 suns. trust me he is the real deal as Luke Skywalker. Just go to IMDB and put his name or youtube him for 3 ninjas.

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