Check out a video from the Return of the Jedi 30th anniversary screening at the Egyptian Theatre plus a video with Mark Hamill discussing Star Wars with the fans and several never before seen photos from the filming process…
Then after the screening Hamill made a surprising appearance at an improvised discussion, which we covered in a previous article - Mark Hamill Talks Episode 7, CGI vs. Practical VFX and More.
Still here’s a video from the event in which he also speaks about making Return of the Jedi and that Carrie Fisher is definitely in Episode 7. Above all the video shows that Mark is really an incredible guy. Enjoy:
Also here’s a video of the Q&As from the event:
Between Q&As, Hamill spoke to StarWars.com about what the entire saga was like for him as an actor, and the different challenges he faced in making a space fantasy believable.
“When I was doing The Texas Wheelers,” he said, “we would be in our pickup truck all the time, which would be just the cabin of the truck on a soundstage with people rocking it and rear screen. And that’s no bigger leap of imagination, because you’re not really out in a truck, really out on the road, than when you’re sailing through the stars in the Millennium Falcon. It’s just a different way to use your imagination.”
But Star Wars presented Hamill with a new challenge, as well: performing with non-human characters, from puppets to actors in costume, including several scenes featuring a bickering droid duo. “My first real test of fire was when I was working with the robots in the first one,” he said. “I really understood comedy. I really understood why Jimmy Finlayson was so important to Laurel and Hardy. I really understood why Richard Deacon was so effective on The Dick Van Dyke Show. I understand the role of a straight man, and I knew if I set them up, it would be even funnier. So I really got my role in that.”
It was The Empire Strikes Back’s scenes featuring Hamill with a small green puppet that required a dramatic believability, and it was a risk — the movie could collapse under the weight of those segments if they didn’t work. But Hamill was confident. “The biggest test was with Yoda,” he said. “The minute I watched Stuart [Freeborn] sculpt the thing, I really was enamored. As soon as Frank [Oz] put that on his arm, I was just there. Even when he was using the mockup, the one that wasn’t fully articulated. His voice, my understanding of the script, and then just to have an approximation of Yoda there, it was no problem for me. And I think one of the greatest tributes I had as an actor was that no one in any of the reviews said, ‘He has a remarkable facility for working with sponge rubber and mechanical props.’ They didn’t mention it. As Frank Oz said, ‘That is the greatest compliment of all. Because if you didn’t believe it, nobody would believe it.’ Now, I think he’s going too far in his praise, because Frank is just a really generous guy. I just think he’s absolutely beyond brilliant.”
The scenes in Empire featuring Luke and Yoda went on to become crucial for the entire saga, showing the young Jedi’s shortcomings, his maturation, and establishing Yoda as a major figure. Return of the Jedi has “more creatures,” Hamill enthusiastically acknowledged, and it’s a film in which he has even more scenes involving incredible physical constructs like Jabba, his henchmen, and a final visit with Yoda. For Hamill, this kind of work was a joy across all the films. “I loved it. It was just so much of what I dreamed of doing when I was a little kid. I loved Paul Winchell, I loved Beany and Cecil, I loved all of those things. Puppets and cartoons and comic strips and comic books. I never dreamed that I would be a grownup that would be paid to do what I was doing. And I didn’t take it for granted.”
In the first post-screening Q&A, Hamill spoke about his initial feeling on what the story of Jedi would be when he started reading the script. “I thought, ‘Oh, I know where this thing is going. I’ve got one mechanical hand now. I’m all in black. I’m well on my way to the dark side.’ I thought that was going to be the plot of the third one, that Luke is tempted back and forth. And I thought the great fake out would be to make the audience believe that I went awry, and at the last possible moment save either Carrie [Fisher] or Harrison [Ford] from death and that would be the twist.” Hamill also joked about being disappointed that Leia would be revealed as his sister, and that the Rebels would have to face a second Death Star. But he also acknowledged that when they made Star Wars, there was no guarantee they would get to finish the trilogy. Had Lucas had a contract for all three, he probably would have saved the Death Star attack as the original trilogy’s climax.
If you want to know more on the subject make sure to pre-order J.W. Rinzler’s latest work of art The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
If you’re still not interested here are some never before seen images from the Return of the Jedi filming process from this book: