HOLLYWOOD, Ca. – Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Okay, it was 1984 in Hollywood. I sat down with Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars.” He was promoting the movie that was scheduled to air on CBS. When director George Lucas approached him, Mark had no idea he would playing the role of Luke for as long as he has.
“No, I only found out it was more than one film when it came time to sign the contract because my lawyer said there’s a provision in here for two more films if this one is popular,” Hamill told me, “So, I asked George and he said it was meant to be a three-part story but if the first one doesn’t do well, we can’t make the other two.”
But it did do well. Hamill says Lucas was already talking about two other trilogies. “He never realized that it would take as much as it did to get, he thought he might be able to shoot for nine months and cut it into three movies,” Hamill said, “But each film takes three years of his life and so he’s thinking, he finally came to the realization that a greater portion of his adult life will be dealing with these characters or at least with that universe cause our story is finished. The only characters that continue through all nine are the robots.”
But even in 1984, there was an indication that Luke Skywalker would return. Lucas had already talked to Mark about doing the very last film in the trilogy. They were thinking that would be around 2011. “I mean as much as I like the idea of having a job at the turn of the century, have you ever figured out how old you’re going to be in X?” he said laughing, “Oh, don’t do it. Don’t do it, folks. It’s scary.”
Hamill’s character would be old and gray by then. “That’s the idea,” he said, “I would be the Obi-Wan type character handing down Excalibur to the young, probably the actor that would play the young one probably isn’t even born now. It’s frightening.” And in ’84, he probably hadn’t come into this world.
Mark says he enjoyed playing his character and it was a good move for his career, but he had his sights on another role. “The role in the film I enjoyed more, I remember when I read it, I thought I’d much rather be Hans Solo,” he said before adding, “But I shouldn’t complain. Many actors, myself included, should be thankful to be remembered for anything.”