Most serious Star Wars fans will know that Mark Hamill’s Jedi-in-waiting Luke Skywalker was called Luke Starkiller in earlier drafts of the first movie’s scripts (with The Force Awakens then using Starkiller as the name of a space base as a callback 30 years later) – but they might not be aware that the actor actually filmed some scenes under the original name.
“They changed it very late,” he told the Cambridge Union debating society last week. “I actually filmed the scene ‘I’m Luke Starkiller and I’m here to rescue you,’ and I got a call sheet and they said they were gonna shoot that scene [again].
“I said ‘but we shot that scene last week,’ but they said ‘no we’re gonna reshoot it.’ I said ‘why?’, they said ‘they’ve changed your name.’
“I said ‘really? What’s wrong with Luke Starkiller?’ It gives him a little moxie you know? He could use all the moxie he could get. Kind of a vapid farmboy, let’s give him a little guts here.
“And they said ‘oh no no no no no. They don’t like the word ‘kill’ in your name. It tests negatively.’”
The “Skywalker” cut of the scene
And apparently it wasn’t the only name in the movie to run into some opposition from the studio, with the film’s title apparently considered too confusing for audiences.
“There was a contest on set – if you could think of a better name than Star Wars, you would win a prize,” Hamill recalled.
“And everyone could sign on the bulletin board, but no-one could come up with anything better.”
But it was probably Hamill himself who was most confused by the film, with the actor admitting that his audition for led to him believe that Star Wars was a comedy, with him playing the sidekick to Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. That is, until his agent sent him the script…
“I said ‘oh yeah, I play his sidekick!’” Hamill told his audience of students.
“Because clearly he was a leading man, and I was like this annoying… he was coolly flying the ship, and I was annoying him.
“And in seven pages I thought ‘Well when he drops me off that’s the last time you’ll see me in the movie.’
“So I get this script, and I open the page and it says ‘The adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Wills, saga number. 1 – The Star Wars.
“And I went, wait a second, I don’t think Harrison was playing Luke Starkiller. I think that was me!”
Star Wars Episode VIII will be released in December 2018
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news