Weeks have passed since the teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was officially released online, and the Internet is still dissecting every frame. Thus far, the marketing team behind director J.J. Abrams’ re-introduction of the classic saga has been careful not to reveal too much information about the film’s plot, an approach that Mark Hamill himself has vocally supported.
In fact, Hamill’s much-discussed return as iconic hero Luke Skywalker was completely absent from the trailer, as were fellow franchise veterans Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Fans have debated whether leaving the returning stars out of the footage was a smart move, and now Hamill himself has commented on it as well.
The actor recently sat down with Yahoo! Movies to discuss his voice work in upcoming holiday special Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, and of course, the conversation ultimately turned to Star Wars. Here’s what Hamill had to say about his absence in the new trailer:
“This is about the new generation of characters; I think that’s the most important thing. It’s the opening act of a whole new approach to the storytelling. So I never thought that the stories would be – first of all, I never thought I’d be involved in it again, period. And then when George [Lucas] said that they wanted to do more, I rightly assumed that it wouldn’t be our story, because we had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This must be our offspring and the current generation, with us there lending the kind of support that Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness did in the original. So no, that didn’t surprise me. And I mean, I’m one of those people where I just think, ‘Keep me out of it. I’ll ruin it, I’m sure!’ [Laughs] I’ll show up and just ruin the whole thing.”
While some fans seem excited at the idea of catching up with the original film’s characters, it’s also generally accepted that Abrams’ film shouldn’t focus primarily on the Skywalker clan. After all, the addition of new characters and adventures is perhaps the best approach to keep the franchise thriving both creatively and financially for years to come.
In fact, Hamill was initially hesitant to appear unless both Fisher and Ford agreed to return as well.
“I said to George, ‘Have you really thought this through? Because maybe it’s not such a great idea.’ But I had a feeling, I said, ‘You know what – if there’s a weak link, if Carrie [Fisher] or Harrison [Ford] decides they don’t want to do it, there’s an out. Because it’s all or nothing. It should be all of us or none of us.’ So I was ready to go either way. And now that we’re all in, we’ll see what happens.
When Hamill’s beard for The Force Awakens was revealed, many assumed this was a visual cue that his role would be as more of a mentor to the new characters portrayed by John Boyega and Daisy Ridley than as the current protagonist, and to hear the actor describe his new look, it sounds like that may be the case.
“That is what I call my contractually obligated beard. Listen: I think they look fine on other people. It’s just not me. I mean, I never got used to it. But face foliage is almost a part of the costume. And it does bring a gravitas, perhaps unearned, but nevertheless, it makes a statement that they wanted to make, and I’m more than happy to oblige them.”
With regard to the new film, Hamill also confirmed that the little rolling droid – now revealed to be named BB-8 – that memorably appears in the trailer was done with practical effects, rather than the CGI that so heavily factored into the prequel trilogy.
“They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know? I said, ‘How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?’ … And when they were demonstrating how they did this thing, live on set — because it’s not CGI, that’s a live prop — I was just amazed. They let me play around with it. [Laughs] I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood. I’m telling you, it’s an absolute delight. And not having thought that I’d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just – I get the chills. It’s just so much fun.”
To say that anticipation is high for The Force Awakens would be an incredible understatement, but the fact that Hamill sounds so eager to delve back into his most beloved role should make even the most skeptical fan that much more excited about the new film. With any luck, this new trilogy will make good use of both Luke Skywalker and the man who plays him.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015.