Mark Hamill finally went over to the dark side of the Force.
Jason Reitman’s live-read of The Empire Strikes Back last night brought two surprise guests to the roster of actors recreating the Star Wars sequel. Hamill, who was once Luke Skywalker himself (and will be again) joined the group to play none other than The Emperor.
Hamill, an acclaimed voice actor who has done countless animated shows, also read the lines for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett, doing spot-on imitations of each, while The Office‘s Rainn Wilson, sporting a bushy beard and lumberjack-style checked shirt, played Chewbacca — and only Chewbacca.
Needless to say, there was a lot of roaring.
Here are some more photos from the performance, which took place before a live audience of 1,600 fans.
Whiplash star J.K. Simmons marched onstage to perform the part of Darth Vader flanked by Stormtroopers as John Williams’ score for the Imperial March played over the sound system.
The troopers in attendance were part of the 501st Legion, a group of volunteers that shows up in Star Wars regalia for charity events, children’s hospitals, and many other events that need a galactic security presence.
Hamill was the last to be introduced, and ran on stage to throw his arms around Simmons and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, who was playing Luke Skywalker.
Before long, he was hugging every member of the cast before settling into his seat beside Wilson, who spent the night trying not to laugh as he roared and growled his way through his lines.
Reitman’s Live-Reads series, which is produced through the group Film Independent, always takes place with actors lined up on stage beneath a giant screen, which shows scenery from the film to orient the audience to their place in the story.
In this shot, the Millennium Falcon attempts to elude an Imperial Star Destroyer after escaping the clash on Hoth.