Our fa­vorite Wook­iee, the lovable ihk`l% maZm ^obe g^p ]khb] ma^r k^ all in our be­hind-the-scenes peek at THE LAST JEDI

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - FRONT PAGE -

Mark Hamill on End^ Ldr­pZed^k l lat­est ad­ven­ture

Iwas sur­prised and chal­lenged by the script for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

You’ve seen the trailer: Luke says, “I only know one truth: It’s time for the Jedi to end.” In the orig­i­nal movies, Luke went through more changes than any other char­ac­ter. He started out as a farm boy and be­came a Jedi mas­ter. So you know he’s a dif­fer­ent per­son now, but the hard­est thing was ÌÀވ˜} ̜ w}ÕÀi œÕÌ Ü…>Ì ÕŽi½Ã ex­pe­ri­ences were be­tween the œÀˆ}ˆ˜> w“à >˜` The Last Jedi.

The fo­cus now is on Rey [Daisy Ri­d­ley] and Kylo Ren [Adam Driver]. It’s re­ally about Rey’s jour­ney. I’m more in the Obi-Wan Kenobi [Alec Guin­ness] or Grand Moff Tarkin [Peter Cush­ing] cat­e­gory as a char­ac­ter—I’m im­por­tant to her jour­ney but not the fo­cus. For Luke—the most op­ti­mistic char­ac­ter from the orig­i­nal tril­ogy—to be so cyn­i­cal now is re­ally stun­ning. But it’s so much more in­ter­est­ing than be­ing a re­cy­cled Obi-Wan.


From the very start, the Star Wars w“à …>Ûi Lii˜ >LœÕÌ the greater good. We get «ˆ}iœ˜…œi` >à ÃVˆi˜Vi wV̈œ˜] but there’s much more to it than that. All those themes you w˜` ˆ˜ v>ˆÀÞ Ì>iÃpvÀˆi˜`ň«] loy­alty, hero­ism—well, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” is pretty close to “Once upon a time.” 7…i˜ Üi “>`i ̅i wÀÃÌ movie, we were “science wV̈œ˜]» LÕÌ Üi …>` > ̅iÃi el­e­ments that set us apart: a princess, a wizard, a space cow­boy/gambler, a farm boy and two me­chan­i­cal side­kicks. And there was an irony and self-aware­ness about Star Wars that fairy tales and WestiÀ˜Ã >˜` 77 w“à >˜` ̅i other source ma­te­rial we were em­u­lat­ing didn’t have. Take the mo­ment in Star Wars when I’m about to swing across in­side the Death Star and Leia [Car­rie Fisher] gives me a peck on the cheek and says, “For luck.” It’s so anachro­nis­tic in a mod­ern`>Þ >`Ûi˜ÌÕÀi w“ vœÀ ܓiœ˜i to take the time to do some­thing that sweet and ro­man­tic and stupid. Those movies had a great sense of hu­mor.

The whole Star Wars phe­nom­e­non grew around us, and we were at the eye of the hur­ri­cane. It’s a young cast now, and it’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent for them. When Daisy Ri­d­ley and the oth­ers came on board, they knew that even if the movie wasn’t well re­ceived, it was }œˆ˜} ̜ Li …ˆ}…‡«Àœwi° >ˆÃÞ is very easy to work with. She comes on set, she’s pre­pared and she’s lovely, a fun per­son to be around. She’s my daugh­ter’s age, and that’s how I re­late to her.


I love the multi­gen­er­a­tional ap­peal of the movies. Kids who grew up with the orig­i­nal tril­ogy are now adults pass­ing their love of Star Wars down to their kids. For me, it’s been a re­lief to come back and show young peo­ple the way I look now. For years, par­ents have been push­ing their chil­dren to­ward me at air­ports say­ing, “Look! It’s Luke Sky­walker!” and all the kids see is this el­derly man and they don’t un­der­stand. It’s healthy for kids to see us the way we are now. It’s also bet­ter for me. I didn’t want to spend my se­nior cit­i­zen years fright­en­ing young chil­dren.

When I was 20, I thought by 50 I’d be re­tired. You don’t imag­ine your­self play­ing char­ac­ter roles or el­derly parts. I was re­ally happy in my theater and voiceover days after the orig­i­nal tril­ogy; I loved sleep­ing in my own bed and not be­ing on lo­ca­tion and be­ing with my fam­ily. I was scared to come back, but I thought, How could

I not? First, I’d be the most hated man in fan­dom. I never thought Har­ri­son [Ford] would come back. And when he did, I couldn’t wait to work with him. Kind of ironic since we didn’t have any scenes to­gether!


I’ll never get used to the fan re­ac­tion. I just got back from New York Comic Con, where you see up close and per­sonal Ì i ˆ“«>VÌ Ì ˆÃ w“ …>à …>` œ˜ fans. It’s so in­grained in their life ex­pe­ri­ence; they’re trans­formed by it. Some of them are just vi­brat­ing be­cause they’re so ex­cited. It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary and it’s mov­ing. It’s like they think of you as part of their fam­ily. I get it. Some peo­ple don’t care for these movies at all and some peo­ple watch them and en­joy them, but for the peo­ple I’m talk­ing about— the ul­tra-pas­sion­ate fans—it’s as­ton­ish­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence that up close and per­sonal. It’s some­thing I don’t think I’ll ever com­pletely un­der­stand, but I’m so grate­ful for it.

Peo­ple have al­ways needed a safe place to es­cape re­al­ity, whether it’s Oz or Mid­dle-earth or Hog­warts or the Marvel/ DC Comics uni­verse. It’s very ther­a­peu­tic to go from the stress of ev­ery­day life to a place far, far away. That’s the gift of Star Wars.

Go to Pa­ for one of Hamill’s fa­vorite mem­o­ries of Car­rie Fisher.

I was scared to come back, but I thought, How could I not? I’d be the most hated man in fan­dom.

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