Tuesday’s news that George Lucas is giving the keys to the Star Wars universe to The Walt Disney Company in a $4.05 billion mega-deal surprised fans around the world, including some famous filmmakers who grew up on the franchise. It even caught a key figure in that universe — Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill — by surprise. Reached by EW, Hamill — who currently does voice work on no fewer than four animated series and will co-star in the upcoming crime thriller Sushi Girl — shared a few thoughts on where Star Wars and its fabled creator go from here now that Lucas is handing over the reins (and the light sabers and blasters and all the rest) to new custodians and the next generation of filmmakers.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did you make of the big news yesterday?
MARK HAMILL: Oh my gosh, what a shock that was! I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it online like everybody else. He did tell us last summer about wanting to go on and do [Episodes] VII, VIII, and IX, and that [newly appointed Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy would be doing them. He seems to be in a really good place. He’s really happy. And that’s nice because I know that when we were making the movies, he was not a jolly guy on set. [Laughs] I always felt badly for him because he agonizes over details, and I’m sure after imagining it in his head for so many years, to see it realized — he’d look up and just hang his head and groan. Harrison [Ford], Carrie [Fisher], and I were always trying to cheer him up and joke him out of his doom and gloom. I missed his call yesterday, but I spoke to him maybe three weeks ago. But until we know more, it’s hard to make any comment other than congratulations to George.
So you met with George this past summer and he told you about his plans to make another trilogy?
Yeah, last August, he asked Carrie and I to have lunch with him and we did. I thought he was going to talk about either his retirement or the Star Wars TV series that I’ve heard about — which I don’t think we were going to be involved in anyway, because that takes place between the prequels and the ones we were in and, if Luke were in them, he’d be anywhere from a toddler to a teenager so they’d get an age-appropriate actor — or the 3-D releases. So when he said, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,” I was just gobsmacked. “What? Are you nuts?!” [Laughs] I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be — and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material. It’s one of those things: people either just don’t care for it or are passionate about it. I guess that defines what cult movies are all about. We’ll see. I’m anxious to know what’s going on, but the main story [yesterday] was the sale to Disney. I have mixed feelings about that, but they haven’t done badly by Marvel and the Muppets and Pixar. It’s one of those big decisions that at first seems unusual but then the more you look at it, the more it makes sense.
When you had lunch with George, did he get into any details with you about where the story would go in the next three films, or whether you would have a part in them?
Well, no, he was just talking about writers and the fact that he wouldn’t be directing. I guess he wanted us to know before everybody else knew. He said, “Now you can’t tell anybody!” [Laughs] Even now I’m nervous about saying anything. I just don’t know!