What’s going on:
The original intro — cut from the film but can be viewed on Disney Plus — shows Luke from the moisture farm, watching the battle between the Empire and Rebellion from Tatooine. Luke watches the assault from Darth Vader, who looks to steal Rebel plans from Princess Leia.
Hamill explained why the introduction was so important and why it maters later in the film.
“There a couple of things that are good for the character. No. 1, he is ridiculed roundly by his peers. So he’s not particularly cool or popular. Koo Stark is the only other female actor in the movie ... and she calls me ‘Wormie.’ So I am not popular, and then I bump into Biggs Darklighter, played by Garrick Hagon, and I go ‘Wow!’ You can see we’re good friends. He’s dressed in an Imperial uniform and I’m going, ‘Wow! That’s so great! I can’t wait until I can get off the dump of a planet and join with you.’ And he takes me outside and says, ‘Luke, as soon as I get the chance, I am going to jump ship and join the Rebels.’”
“The only reason that is interesting to me is that Luke has no political persuasion. He thinks it’s great he is in the Empire! Luke wants to be in the Empire if it will get him off the farm! So he is completely pure in that he is not politically motivated in any way, shape or form.”
The original opening does offer a little more context to Luke’s character, pairing him with his father Darth Vader, too, since it shows both scenes back and forth.
It also adds another layer to Luke’s journey overall. He never chooses a side and remains a conflicted character.