Mark Hamill gets Big Laughs, Talks New Trilogy at Special May Fourth ‘Jedi’ Screenings

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Comedians Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn may have wrung comic mileage from griping about the "Star Wars" franchise. But if you want to hear some really funny stuff about the inner workings of "Star Wars," Mark Hamill is clearly the man to call.

To celebrate what has become unofficial "Star Wars" day among fans – "May the Forth be with you," get it? – Entertainment Weekly hosted three sold-out screenings of "Return Of The Jedi" at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday, and to the surprise of those in attendance, Hamill stopped by unannounced to talk all things "Star Wars." The man who was Luke Skywalker happened to have a few pretty hilarious things to say about his memories of "Jedi."

Hamill mock-complained about the big plot twist that Princess Leia turned out to be Luke Skywalker's sister, and offered an even better way to mess with the audience. "Why not have Boba Fett remove his helmet, shake out some beautiful hair, and … Oh my God, IT'S MOM!" Hamill said. "She’s been a double agent all these years!"

Hamill also confessed he was a bit thrown about what Luke was going to be up to in "Return of the Jedi" when he first read the script. "I know where this thing’s going. I’ve got one mechanical hand now. I’m all in black. I’m well on my way to the dark side." Hamill's original hunch? Luke would have turned out to be pretending to be a bad guy all along and turned heroic in the final reel.

And Hamill goofed on the construction of Death Star 2.0 in "Jedi." "Really, come on, a second Death Star? REALLY?" Hamill laughed. Hamill went on to say George Lucas might not have put the Death Star in the first movie if he'd known that "Star Wars" would become a franchise, but with no assurances there would be more than one movie, it made it's way into the first movie.

According to Hamill, Lucas was always thinking in terns of a franchise, and while making "Star Wars," the director told him he first planned a cycle of four trilogies – twelve movies. "But he cobbled it down to three trilogies of nine," Hamill said. "I said, 'Why are we starting in the middle?' He said, 'Well, um, this trilogy is the most commercial.'"

But never let it be said Hamill didn't see the enormous commercial potential of "Star Wars." Hamill described his reaction after seeing the first film for the first time: "Even if this doesn’t do well at the box office, this has cult hit written all over it. I see endless midnight screenings. I predicted: This thing is gonna be bigger than 'Planet of the Apes.' This thing will make at LEAST $25 million." (Give Hamill credit – he was right.)

Of course, plenty of fans want to hear about the upcoming "Star Wars" trilogy that's in the works, and Hamill said that he and Carrie Fisher met with Lucas last year for a meeting that turned out to be about rebooting the franchise. "I've only had one creative meeting about the new films, but I do remember saying: 'We’ve got to find a proper balance between CGI and old-school models.' I want to have a more organic look so that we don’t get into 'Roger Rabbit' territory." While the audience shouted their approval of Hamill's statement, the actor quickly added, "That’s just me! Don’t get too excited! I don’t imagine their top priority is what I want."

Hamill confessed he's not the only "Star Wars" fan in his household. Hamill's son Nathan follows the series, and often kept his dad posted on what was happening with Lucas's digitally revised versions of the original trilogy. "He’ll say, 'Oh my God, Dad, Greedo shoots first now!'" Hamill said. "I'll say, 'Wait, wait, wait. Let's put this in perspective: Who cares?'"

And unlike most fans, Hamill doesn't have a problem with the prequels that left so many people cold. "Those aren’t sorta the movies [Lucas] wanted them to be, they’re EXACTLY the movies they wanted to make," Hamill said. "And I’m not gonna criticize them at all."

Besides, Hamill had one last (funny) point to make about everyone's least favorite character in "The Phantom Menace." "Jar Jar was SUPPOSED to be irritating! He’s irritating to the other characters in the movie!"