During the annual “Star Wars Celebration” event from April 16-19, actor Mark Hamill told a great story of how he first heard about the new “Star Wars” trilogy.
Hamill said he, his wife, and Carrie Fisher were invited to a lunch by George Lucas’ people while at a “Star Wars” event.
It struck Hamill as a bit odd. The actor figured it meant something big was going on; however, he never imagined it was another trilogy.
“George had told me specifically, he wasn’t doing anything after the prequels,” Hamill told the audience. “He said, ‘I don’t want to be doing these things in my 70s.'”
Hamill’s best guess was that they were re-releasing the films in 3D, and Lucas was asking for the original cast to do press. That, or the films were getting another video release.
He figured that even if they were to do another trilogy someday that it would be about another generation. The films wouldn’t need him back as Luke Skywalker.
“I had a beginning, a middle, [and] an end. My story was finished,” he said.
So you could imagine Hamill’s surprise when that was exactly the news Lucas told him.
Here’s how Hamill said Lucas broke the news, while doing his best impression of the “Star Wars” director:
“Basically, um … I’m moving on. I’m going to be leaving Lucasfilm and Kathy Kennedy’s going to be taking over. And, uh, we’re thinking we’re gonna do another trilogy.”
At this point in the story, here’s Hamill’s expression:
He continues, as Lucas:
“If you don’t want to be in it, we won’t recast. We’ll write you out of it.”
Hamill says though he was wearing a poker face like this while receiving the news …
… On the inside, he was thinking, “Whyyyyyyyyy?”
“That’s how I knew I was a good actor. On the outside, I was completely placid,” Hamill told the crowd. “The truth of the matter is, I was in a state of shock. I thought, ‘How could this be?’ I couldn’t say yes or no, but what was really interesting was later I thought, ‘It’s not like a choice, it’s like … it was like I was drafted.'”
“Can you imagine if for some reason I said, ‘I don’t think I want to do it’? I would have all of you surrounding my house like villagers in a Frankenstein picture,” the actor half joked.
“Angry villagers with lightsabers instead of torches,” he added. “I’d sort of be like the most hated person in fandom.”
“‘Oh you’re too cool for school,'” Hamill playfully continued.”You don’t want to come back and do ‘Episode VII.'”
According to Hamill, Carrie Fisher, who played his on-screen sister in the franchise, had no problem signing on for more “Star Wars” films. He says she immediately jumped at the offer exclaiming, “I’m in!” However, she also asked if there was a part for her daughter Billie Lourd in the new film.
For the record, Lourd will be in “The Force Awakens.” While her role has been kept secret, it’s believed she’ll play a young version of her mother’s character Princess Leia.
During the panel, Hamill continued to discuss how he feels about the new film, joking he was originally a tad suspicious of director J.J. Abrams since he worked on the rebooted “Star Trek” films.
However, Hamill spoke fondly about the young director, saying he’s receptive of others’ ideas on set in addition to calling him “loveable.”
“Here’s the thing that I love. This film is the first of the ‘Star Wars’ films that’s actually in the hands of someone who grew out of fandom,” explained Hamill, referring to Abrams, a self-proclaimed “Star Wars” fan. “So he [Abrams] feels the way you feel in terms of wanting practical effects, real sets.”
If you have a chance, check out the entire panel. Hamill’s incredibly entertaining as he discusses doing voice over work and his time on set of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” with both Alec Guinness and Yoda puppeteer, Frank Oz.
You can view it here starting at the 9 hour and 34 minute mark. (Yes, you’re reading that right.) If you want to skip ahead to the part where Hamill discusses finding out about the new “Star Wars” trilogy, that’s at the 10 hour and 5 min mark, here.
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