Mark Hamill on 'Star Wars: Episode VII': 'They're talking to us'
When it comes to the future of the Star Wars franchise, overheated Internet rumors outnumber solid news stories by a considerable margin. As Yoda would say, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” Some of the noisiest speculation has centered on the prospect of original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher returning for Star Wars: Episode VII.In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Hamill—who dropped the first tantalizing hints about his potential involvement to EW last October—confirmed that discussions about possible future appearances of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia are indeed taking place but stressed that no contracts have been signed. “They’re talking to us,” Hamill said. “George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts—they would write us out. … We’re in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed—on their end, not mine. They’re more busy than I am.”
It’s unclear how much Hamill actually knows at this point about the closely guarded and still-evolving plans for Episode VII, but he did share his own speculation about where the story might go. “I’m assuming, because I haven’t talked to the writers, that these movies would be about our offspring—like my character would be sort of in the Obi-Wan range [as] an influential character,” he said. “When I found out [while making the original trilogy] that ultimate good news/bad news joke — the good news is there’s a real attractive, hot girl in the universe; the bad news is she’s your sister — I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to wind up like Sir Alec [Guinness]. I’m going to be a lonely old hermit living out in some kind of desert igloo with a couple of robots.’ ”
While any casting decisions will ultimately be in the hands of director J.J. Abrams and the rest of the Star Wars Jedi council, Hamill suggested he’d like to see as many of the original cast members return as possible: “Another thing I’d want to make sure of is—are we going to have the whole gang back? Is Carrie and Harrison and Billy Dee [Williams] and Tony Daniels, everybody that’s around from the original [returning]? I want to make sure that everybody’s on board here, rather than just one.”
And while he was sharing his Star Wars wish list, Hamill took the liberty of tossing in his own personal aesthetic plea for the future installments, one that will be music to the ears of those who grew up worshiping at the altar of the original trilogy and bemoaned the CGI overkill and sometimes ponderous plotting of the prequels. “I said to George that I wanted to go back to the way it was, in the sense that ours was much more carefree and lighthearted and humorous – in my opinion, anyway,” Hamill said. “I hope they find the right balance of CGI with practical effects. I love props, I love models, miniatures, matte paintings — I’m sort of old school. I think if you go too far in the direction of CGI it winds up looking like just a giant a video game, and that’s unfortunate. … If they listen to me at all, it’ll be, ‘Lighten up and go retro with the way it looks.”
Lucasfilm and Disney sources say that Abrams and Kennedy are in early stages of setting creative priorities for Episode VII and, presumably, the two films that would finish out the third trilogy. It’s not clear if Abrams will steer the new film toward a story that features Hamill, Fisher, and Ford as the central stars, as supporting actors (in, say, a framing sequence or flashback), or as especially prominent cameo players. A source close to cast contract negotiations says that a script needs to be finished before talks progress, noting, “It will not be for weeks and perhaps months.”
To quote Yoda again: “Patience.”
(Additional reporting by Geoff Boucher)