Mark Hamill Almost Didn’t Return For The Force Awakens
When Mark Hamill expressed uncertainty about returning for Episode VII, some speculated that this was simply a canny negotiating tactic. That may be true, but J.J. Abrams has revealed that there’s another reason Hamill almost didn’t return for The Force Awakens: his role (more of a cameo really) was too small. “Imagine being Mark Hamill and you get the script for the new Star Wars,” Abrams said at the Tribeca Film Festival. “‘Oh the opening is good, page two, oh, three and so on… what the f**k is the going on, I’m three pages before the end, the last page, what?’ He was so kind to do it, and at first he was like, ‘Will it seem silly, will it be a joke that he is standing there?’ I said to him, ‘I don’t think it will.’ I said because the whole movie is about that, it could be a great fun drum roll.”
Abrams also revealed that he shares some of Hamill’s frustration, as he would have loved the opportunity to bring the character back to life onscreen. “I was desperate to do the next chunk that we knew would not fit into this one movie,” he explained. “We knew that we had that ending, but it was a frightening and tricky thing to do.”
While Hamill’s appearance in The Force Awakens is extremely brief, it had a powerful impact on the director, particularly when he considered its relationship to the original Star Wars. “Hamill was the exact same age as Alec Guinness was when he played Obi-Wan,” he said. “I’m looking at him in the robes, and with the John Williams music, I start to tear up, and I know that this ending could really work.”
You can see “the next chunk” of Luke on December 15, 2017 when Episode VIII arrives in theatres. In the meantime, here’s a brief look at the shooting of Hamill’s cameo in The Force Awakens.