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Fan Expo 2016: Mark Hamill Says Star Wars Is Under Attack—By Drones

From the time Mark Hamill arrived on stage at Fan Expo yesterday until he left, the memories were flying at lightspeed. He couldn’t help but return to some classic anecdotes—for the cast and crew of The Empire Strikes Back, “Obi-Wan killed your father” was the twist ending—but the context of a new trilogy made everything feel fresh again. While much of the talk was devoted to his lifelong passion for voice acting, he also explored several timely and/or enduringly interesting Star Wars topics. Here are some of the highlights.

Star Wars Security

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryPh: Film Frame©Lucasfilm LFL

Hamill was extremely enthusiastic about the Rogue One trailer—which he compared to “a gritty World War II film”—and he shared some amusing memories from his visit to the set. “Gareth Edwards said five words that were the biggest spoiler of all-time,” he said, before wisely changing the topic to the un-spoilable secrets of The Force Awakens. “Episode VII was the only film I’ve ever made where you had to wear what they call a security cloak on your way from the trailer to the sound stage. Big long flowing robe with a hood and I said, ‘Is this really necessary? We’re at Pinewood. You have to go through the guard and there’s security.’ ‘One word, Mark: drones.’”

Picking Favourites

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Asked to name his favourite instalment in the Star Wars saga, Hamill hesitated, saying “You love them like your children for different reasons and you don’t want to show favouritism,” but then he cracked. “Pushed to the limit, I’d have to say the one that was the most challenging and the most unexpected because it was so cerebral and had such unexpected darkness to it was The Empire Strikes Back.”

The Other Return Of The Jedi

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For Hamill, The Empire Strikes Back set up an exciting expectation—that Return of the Jedi completely abandoned. “It sort of set me up in the wrong way because I thought, ‘This is so cool. He’s slowly turning into Vader. He’s got the mechanical hand now. He’s all in black. I thought the plot of Jedi would be me turning to the dark side, undermining my previous compatriots Han and Leia, maybe playing a double agent where they don’t know I’m undermining them. I was thinking, ‘Eww, good. I get to play evil Luke.’ I was surprised at the way it went in Jedi.”

Reviving The Force

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Asked how it feels to be working on Star Wars again after all these years, Hamill offered an analogy—that severely understates the financial rewards. “You ever find an old pair of pants you haven’t worn in years and there’s a 20-dollar bill in the pocket? You like that 20 dollars more because it’s unexpected. That’s what returning to Star Wars is like for me.”

Episode VIII

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Those hoping Hamill was there to share some revealing new details about Episode VIII got an amusing wake-up call. “Look at you all, looking at me so expectedly waiting for that little morsel,” he said. “That little detail that might dribble out. I mean, come on. Let’s all have a collective laugh because you’ve gone to all this trouble to get dressed up, make sure somebody’s watching your pets, and the kids are with babysitters. You all come down here, you pay your money, you park your car, and you come up for information about a movie… that I’m contractually forbidden to talk about!”

INNERSPACE CLIPS