Mark Hamill Talks All Things STAR WARS
Over the weekend, the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, CA held a special screening of Return of the Jedi on May the 4th. Mark Hamill made a surprise appearance and ended up talking about his experience being a part of Star Wars, and also talked a little bit about Star Wars: Episode VII.
AICN was there to give us a little rundown on what went on and what Hamill had to say. The actor said he doesn't know any specifics on the new Star Wars movie, and since Disney bought Lucasfilm, he's only had one meeting with Kathleen Kennedy. In that meeting, he expressed his desire to have "a more balanced approach to the effects." He said that she agreed with him on that point and that they've already talked to George Lucas about it. That's a good sign! It's what the fans all want. He then said...
Part of me is cautious, saying 'let well enough alone, let everyone keep their nice memories if they have nice memories and don't try to go back and do it again.' But the other side of me, the adventerous side, thinks 'If everyone's in, how could I miss this?'
I'm one of you, I feel like you're one of us. I'll be in there fighting and trying to be as honest as I can be about what I think it is made these movies so special in the first place. It always starts with the script and that's why I'm so encouraged by Michael Arndt's involvement because I respect his writing so much. He's a big fan of these movies, so hopefully we can make something that doesn't make everyone want to find us, cut off our heads and throw it right in our faces.
Hamill went on to confirm that he knows Carrie Fisher is 100% in, has heard Harrison Ford is on board as well, but he hasn't talked to him personally to confirm it. He then revealed that he hasn't met with J.J. Abrams yet. I'm sure Hamill is eventually going to jump on board if he hasn't already, I think it will be weird if everyone other than him from the original cast ends up in the movie. As for what he wants to see in his role and the younger cast that will take over the franchise, he said:
I want it to be age appropriate, so heavy on the Jedi mind tricks and lighten up on the lightsaber duels. Let the kids do the heavily lifting!
I guess he's not as mobile as he used to be. It's all good though, I'm sure he'll make a great old Jedi. Here are a few other points that Hamill brought up during the Q&A. To see them all, head on over to AICN!
- Hamill said he talked to Lucas back in the day about why he started with the middle trilogy. First off, Lucas originally wanted to do 4 trilogies (12 movies), but pared it down to 3 trilogies (9 movies). Why start in the middle then? “Even then I realized that if these things were to go forward that the technology would improve and that by the time we had gone back in time the special effects would give it away, that they were much more technologically advanced than what we were doing. He said, 'Well, this trilogy is the most commercial.' I said, 'Oh, okay.'”
- He also had a few knocks to throw at Jedi, despite his obvious admiration of the film and the work of everybody involved. Hamill was brought in to do wardrobe tests before he read the script and he noted he was wearing all black. He considered the fact that he's got a robot hand, they're putting him in all black outfits... he thought Luke was going to fall to the dark side and that was how they were going to top the big reveal at the end of Empire, but showing Luke severely tempted by the dark side (maybe even to the point of killing one of the group), but coming around at the end. “I thought a great fake-out would be to make the audience believe that I went awry and at the last possible moment save either Carrie or Harrison from death and that would be the twist. So I was disappointed when I read (the Jedi script). I was like, “Really? A second Death Star? Really? That's the plot?”
- “To be fair, if George had known from the beginning he was going to do three movies he would have saved the destruction of the Death Star for the third movie.”
- Empire Strikes Back is Hamill's favorite Star Wars film and told the story about how the script and line-readings on the day of the big reveal were “Obi-Wan killed your father.” Only Lucas, Irvin Kershner and Hamill knew the real ending and Hamill only knew when Kershner pulled him aside to tell him. It was a good thing they did that with the on-set line reading because 2 days after they shot the scene the UK's The Sun had a front page headline that read “Guinness Head Baddie In Star Wars 2.” Even Harrison Ford didn't know until the premiere.
- Hamill never doubted that Vader was telling the truth like a lot of fans did. He always thought the twist was the real deal. “What I thought was a lie was when they said that Leia was my sister. I said, 'Oh, come on.' I mean, really! This seems like a lame attempt to top the Vader thing, you know what I'm saying? Why not have Boba Fett remove his helmet, shake out some beautiful hair and 'Oh, my God! It's mom! She's been a double agent all these years!'”
- He also had issues with Boba Fett's exit from the films. “It just didn't seem right. They built him up, he was so awesome and he has that great costume and Jeremy Bulloch did such a great job. Really, you just flip a switch on his backpack? It just seemed like it was a missed opportunity.”
- Hamill remembers finding a memo to Lucas from the Fox execs on the first film suggesting he put a pair of lederhosen on Chewbacca. “They said, 'Do you realize he has no pants on?' I said, 'Wow, if that's what they're worried about we're in serious trouble.' And they didn't like the title Star Wars. They said 'We've done polls and 38% of women ages 18-49 don't like films with the word “Wars” in the title.'”
- Told an Empire story about feeling uneasy about hurting the Wampa too badly. The focus on Luke in that sequence (hanging upside down, reaching for the lightsaber, etc) was all second unit. “I said to them 'Look, when I make this swipe camera right with my saber, I'm just nicking this creature, right?Because he's not evil, he's just hungry! I don't want to hurt him. He's like a big grizzly bear or something.' They said, 'Yeah, yeah. You're just nicking him and he'll back off.' Nine months later I'm in a theater and not only do I hurt him, I cut his arm off! They completely lied to me about that!”
I freakin' love the Star Wars franchise, and I couldn't be more excited to see what Abrams is going to give us in Episode VII!