In the world of film no actor is ever truly dead, with a piece of their personality living on in digital amber every time someone uploads a film or TV show they were once part of, browses clips online or looks up old interviews.
And with advances in digital technology, even new performances aren’t out of the question. Just look at Peter Cushing’s surprise appearance in 2016’s Star Wars prequel Rogue One, where the veteran thespian was recreated for the screen decades after his death thanks to state-of-the-art digital effects, archive footage and motion capture by Holby City actor (and decent Cushing impressionist) Guy Henry.
And when you also consider all the films that have de-aged iconic actors by a few decades (like Michael Douglas in Ant-Man or Carrie Fisher in Rogue One, where she was played by a younger actor with Fisher’s face digitally added), even more opportunities begin to open up for classic characters to be brought back to life.
- Star Wars Episode IX script is ready ahead of summer filming confirms director JJ Abrams
- Mark Hamill returns to Star Wars in new animated series
So we put the question to Mark Hamill, fresh from playing Luke Skywalker in what may be his final Star Wars performance in The Last Jedi – would he be up for the younger version of Luke Skywalker being brought back digitally, or re-cast?
“I thought you were gonna say posthumously,” Hamill laughed, before revealing that slightly morbid prospect was actually something he’d already discussed with his family.
“Well already I told my family ‘Absolutely – thumbs up!’” he said.
“But it is a question of propriety really. I’m sure they had to go to the Cushing estate and get their permission.”
More generally, Hamill said he was happy for Lucasfilm to imagine a future for Luke Skywalker beyond him, even if that meant recasting the role with a younger actor (after all, his Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford is about to have his character Han Solo played by Alden Ehrenreich in prequel Solo).
“You know, it’s amazing to me – George [Lucas] gave them a canvas so large that they’re going to be able to– I mean, the possibilities are infinite,” he told RadioTimes.com.
“So who knows? They also ask me ‘What young actor do you think could play him?’ Sky’s the limit. And I’m sure they’re going to keep making these things long after I’m gone.”
For now, we’re just hoping Hamill’s dreams of bringing back a scary ghost Luke Skywalker for Episode IX come true – the rest, we’ll leave to the future.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download from 9th April, and can be pre-ordered now