Mark Hamill reflects on Return of the Jedi

So perhaps Return of the Jedi wasn’t the best of the original Star Wars trilogy, we all know that.

But if you were around in those days, thirty years ago now (!), you certainly waited in line for it, like I did with my family opening week, and you probably dug it at the time, because you were younger, and your tastes weren’t as discerning. 

Some feel that Jedi was the point where Star Wars was more about the toys, I haven’t seen it in years myself so I can’t say whether it holds up for me or not, but I do remember the anticipation of opening week, waiting in line, and finally seeing it, which was very exciting for me and millions of fans everywhere. 

Recently in L.A., Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, was a special guest at a screening for Jedi, and he’ll soon be coming back to the empire again when the next Star Wars movie, directed by JJ Abrams, hits theaters. (Collider claims it could start shooting early next year, like Avengers 2, which is also scheduled to begin around the same time frame).

As Entertainment Weekly notes, Hamill related to the audience he initially thought Skywalker would go over to the dark side with Jedi. He lost his hand, was wearing all black, “I’m well on my way to the dark side.” But of course he never lost his soul to evil. 

At the Q&A, Hamill also took some funny digs at several Jedi plot points. “Really, come on, a second Death Star? Really?” Not to mention finding out that Leia was his sister. “Why not have Boba Fett remove his helmet, and…Oh my god, it’s mom! She’s been a double agent all these years!” 

Funny enough, he also defended Jar Jar, of all characters, and the last three Star Wars films. “Jar Jar was supposed to be irritating! He’s irritating to the other characters in the movie!” As for the post-Jedi movies, Hamill feels Lucas had the right to make whatever he wanted. “Those aren’t sort of the movies he wanted them to be, they’re exactly the movies they wanted to make. I’m not going to criticize them at all.” 

Hamill confirmed there was a creative meeting with Lucas about the next Star Wars movie, and Mark said at the meeting, “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.” 

Going back to the original Star Wars, where so many doubted this little sci-fi movie initially, Hamill thought it would do well. At the time he thought, “Even if this doesn’t do well at the box office, this has cult hit written all over it. I see endless midnight screenings.” Hamill’s prediction for the box office gross? “This thing is going to be bigger than Planet of the Apes,” he recalled. “This thing will make at least $25 million.” (Spielberg predicted $35 million.) 

Sounds like it was a fun night to reminisce on Star Wars, especially in celebration of Star Wars Day, which was on May 4. Not to mention it’s good to hear from Hamill after all these years, and we’re looking forward to seeing him again in the next Star Wars movie in 2015.