In an interview panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe, Mark Hamill took questions about his experiences on the both the old and new Star Wars sets, as well as dropped a hint about Episode VIII.
Star Wars Celebration Europe kicked off this morning with An Hour With Mark Hamill, an interview panel on the main Celebration stage in which Mark Hamill took questions about his experiences on the Star Wars sets throughout the year (via Entertainment Weekly and Star Wars UK).
When Hamill first read the script for A New Hope, he thought it was amazing but didn’t think he could play Luke Skywalker because he was the main character. Despite the enormity of being the star of the biggest blockbuster sci-fi film of all time, however, Hamill said it was impossible to be serious during filming.
"“All the time, we were laughing. We had to be serious, but come on. It was just goofier than hell,” Hamill said. “You’re sitting next to Sir Alec Guinness, one of the most venerated actors in the English-speaking world, and a guy in an 8-foot dog costume with headphones on. I mean, what’s wrong with this picture? It was just really odd.”"
Hamill said his favorite scene to shoot for A New Hope was the one where he swings across the chasm in the Death Star with Carrie Fisher at his hip. The crew also let him fly around on the wire by himself like Peter Pan, until George Lucas said, “Urmmm, get him down. It’s an insurance risk. If he hits a wall like Wile E. Coyote, the whole movie’s off. He’ll be a stain on the wall.”
The Force Awakens was a much different experience for Hamill. Rather than being the focus of attention throughout the entire movie, his only role was at the end of the film, and the only thing he did was turn around and take off his hood.
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He was not offended by not having much screen time; he was just surprised given all the physical training he had gone through.
"“No, no, I wasn’t insulted. I thought it was a really great surprise. But I don’t think they prepared me correctly… I went to training, and I lost all this weight. I thought, ‘I must be doing something physical if they’re sending me to the gym twice a week and torturing me physically.”"
When he first read the script for The Force Awakens, Hamill said, he had had no warning he wouldn’t be in the film much. He kept an eye out for his entrance, and he once thought it would be in the woods on Starkiller Base when Rey lifts his lightsaber out of the snow with the Force.
"“I’ll tell you where I thought I came in – in the forest, when the lightsaber [wiggles] like this, and flies off,” Hamill says. “I thought, ‘Oh, what a great entrance!’ GAH! Rey caught it…? She hasn’t even been to Dagobah for training! What’s the deal?”"
Fortunately, it looks like Luke will have a lot more to do in Episode VIII. All that physical training Hamill has undergone will pay off, as well as the buildup caused by expectation.
Hamill himself contributed to that expectation when he dropped a hint about Episode VIII.
"“I was looping Episode VIII yesterday, and there’s dialogue in there, and I thought, ‘Oh boy, I can already see this on a T-shirt. Rian Johnson is amazing,” he said of the next installment’s writer-director. “He’ll make you forget all about ‘May the Force be with you.’ He’s come up with so many new catchphrases.”"
The dialogue is something fans critics talk about a lot with regard to the Star Wars films, particularly the prequels which are often derided for stilted, cheesy lines. But the truth is, Star Wars has always been made up of cheesy lines, with bits of brilliance sprinkled in snide remarks or words of Jedi wisdom. Perhaps it’s Luke who will deliver some of the latter in Episode VIII, as he guides Rey along her Jedi path. No matter who says it, though, it’s reassuring to know that essential original ingredient is continuing on in Rian Johnson’s vision of Star Wars.
There are more interviews and panels to come with Star Wars celebrities throughout the Star Wars Celebration weekend, celebrities like Anthony Daniels tomorrow, July 16th, and Carrie Fisher Sunday, July 17th. Keep checking Dork Side for the latest recaps and updates from those and all the Celebration panels, and don’t forget to catch the panels livestreaming on the official Star Wars YouTube channel.