Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher may have passed away in 2016, but Princess Leia is still set to return to a galaxy far far away later in December 2019. As previously reported, with the help of unused footage from Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Fisher will star in the final instalment of the sequel trilogy.
And according to Mark Hamill, this is exactly what the late actress would have wanted. “Something tells me she’d get a real kick out of the fact she had a hit movie years after she left us,” the Luke Skywalker actor told RadioTimes.com. “That was just her.”
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Opening up about his co-star and close friend, Hamill also said he had to “disconnect emotionally” from Fisher’s death at times. “To lose Carrie in real life – I hate when harsh reality butts into my fantasy!” he said. “It was really upsetting and it’s not easy dealing with it in public.
“You didn’t have to know her to be a fan of hers. It’s unspeakably sad. I mean, usually her timing was impeccable. In this case, not so much.”
He added: “When I watch that scene when I say goodbye to her [in The Last Jedi], it takes me out of the movie completely.
“I’d like to think nothing would be better than having her here because she was always fun […] she could always make me laugh. I was proud that I could make her laugh. That’s really what it’s all about!”
Although Hamill and Fisher have been close friends since the very first Star Wars (1977) the only scene the two shared in the sequel trilogy was the tear-jerking goodbye between their characters in The Last Jedi.
However, Hamill revealed the two were closely tied when the films were in development, with George Lucas sitting down both actors together to sign them on.
“He told us, ‘well, they want to do a new trilogy and if you don’t want to do it we won’t re-cast, we’ll just write your character out.’ I’m pretty good at a poker face. But inside I’m shocked. And Carrie goes [slams fist hard on the table] ‘I’m in!’”
He continued: “Later I said: ‘Carrie, poker face! Even if you want to do it, play hard to get! I’m not your agent, but you don’t want to act too anxious. Play it cool!’
“Of course, she was miles ahead of me in many ways. She just looked at me and said: ‘Mark, what kind of roles are there for women in their fifties in Hollywood?’
“I’d never considered that. Of course, it is much harder on women. You know, the male star is 30 years old and has got a 22-year-old girlfriend. Then he’s 40 years old and got a 22-year-old girlfriend. Then 50 or 60 years old he’s got a 22-year-old girlfriend. What happened to all the women that aged with him?”
Despite Fisher’s enthusiasm for reprising her Star Wars role, Hamill was initially reluctant to don his Jedi robes once more – “I thought: ‘we had a beginning, middle and end. We should leave it be!’”
But after some time, the last person Hamill expected forced him into the project: Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. “[At first], I thought ‘I know Harrison won’t do it. He’s too rich and he’s too cranky. That’s my out,’” Hamill recalled. “Then when I read he was doing it, I was like ‘oh, I just got drafted!’”
Laughing, he added: “Do you realise how angry [fans] would be if I was the only one who didn’t come back? It would be like they’d surround my house like angry villagers in the Frankenstein picture with lightsabers instead of torches!”
While Hamill is set to return to the Star Wars universe in Episode IX in December, fans can see him playing a battle-hardened knight much sooner – just not of the Jedi variety.
The actor is set to star in the second season of History’s medieval drama Knightfall as Talus, an old Templar veteran of the Crusades.
He might not be duelling Darth Vader on the Death Star or lifting an X-wing with his mind, but – on the face of it, at least – Hamill’s new character shares similarities with the Skywalker of the Star Wars sequels.
Like Luke, the battle-hardened Talus has also been isolated from society for many years, returning from the fray when tasked with training younger knights.
Unlike Skywalker’s, Talus’ exile was involuntary and involved a long stint in prison – and Hamill says he doesn’t see the similarities between the two characters.
“That didn’t even occur to me when I said yes!” he laughed. “Obviously George Lucas had so many influences and certainly the knights were something that he modelled his character after.
“I looked at [Talus] and didn’t think of that at all! Talus is more like the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket!”
However, after a pause, Hamill added with a smile: “It’s interesting to me because when you’re talking to me and I realise I’ve been typecast and I resent it. But there’s one thing about being typecast: you’re working!”
Although Hamill’s extensive voice work as the likes of Batman’s The Joker means he’s hardly pinned to one role, there are worse characters to be typecast as than a toughened legendary warrior. Especially if you can pull off a beard that well.
Knightfall series two is coming to History this summer