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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 ÌÀÞ} Ì w}ÕÀi ÕÌ Ü >Ì Õi½Ã experiences were between the À}> wÃ >` 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 wÃ >Ûi Lii >LÕÌ the greater good. We get «}i i` >Ã ÃViVi wVÌ] but there’s much more to it than that. All those themes you w` v>ÀÞ Ì>iÃpvÀi`Ã «] 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 Ì i wÀÃÌ movie, we were “science wVÌ]» LÕÌ Üi >` > Ì 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 WestiÀÃ >` 77 wÃ >` Ì 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 >`ÛiÌÕÀi w vÀ Ãii 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 }} Ì Li } «Àwi° >ÃÞ 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.
'LOOK! IT'S LUKE!'
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 «>VÌ Ì Ã w >Ã >` 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 Parade.com/mark 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.