A New Hope, always
As a child, David Johnston was devastated to learn Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s dad
TRURO, N.S. – Dressed in a Darth Vader outfit, David Johnston sat down to watch The Rise of Skywalker on its opening night in Halifax.
Halfway around the world, Johnston’s brother arrived at a cinema in Japan, dressed also as Darth Vader. His sister in Toronto came dressed as outcast alien Jar Jar Binks for her own Star Wars tribute.
“I’m very lucky,” said Johnston in Truro on Dec. 20. “It felt like connecting with the family through the Force, watching it all the way around the world together.”
Johnston didn’t want to give the storyline away but described The Rise of Skywalker as “dripping with nostalgia.”
“There is a kiss that gets everybody cheering, I won’t say anything more than that,” said Johnston.
But as a practising magician, Johnston appreciated the magic behind all Star Wars movies and has done so since he was little.
Indeed, Johnston has an unopened Darth Vader toy from 1977, which he keeps as a memento from his childhood.
Johnston remembered feeling so distraught when he learned Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father, his mother had to comfort him. He made this discovery after watching The Empire Strikes Back as a child in 1980.
“It had such a huge effect on me and so many other people,” said Johnston. “Star Wars is a reminder that when you’re a child, things really influence you and I carry that with me in my career as a magician.”
As an adult, the magic came true for Johnston when he met actor Mark Hamill, who plays both Luke Skywalker and The Joker.
He learned Hamill wanted to be a magician when he was growing up, but chose acting instead as it was easier. Johnston told Hamill The Joker inspired his stage name of "Mr. J."
“We actually had a fun and lively talk, which hopefully was different enough to brighten his day,” said Johnston. “He even called me 'Mr. J' when meeting him, for a third time a day later. My girlfriend was amazed.”
While Johnston did not talk Star Wars with Hamill, he has always kept the film’s subtler messaging on nature and the environment close to heart.
He said the environmental aspect is expressed by certain characters, such as Yoda on a swamp planet and the Ewoks, who live in a forest world.
“Star Wars shows nature triumphing over machines,” said Johnston. “The Empire is very mechanical. It’s order. It’s conformity. It’s sterile, whereas the Jedis’ planets are all surrounded by plants. It’s all forests, meditation and nature.”
David Johnston saw the very first Star Wars movie in 1977 and even has a spare Darth Vader toy from the time.
David Johnston even met Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker.