Mark Hamill explains why Luke is so whiny on Star Wars' 'cringe-inducing' Tosche Station line
It has inadvertently become one of the most famous lines in film history. In the original Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV—A New Hope) Luke Skywalker is told by his uncle Owen to clean their newly purchased droids before dinner. To Luke, this news is on a galactic bummer scale akin to his buddy Han Solo later being frozen in carbonite. "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters," the teenage moisture farmer complains before being told that he he can "waste time with your friends when your chores are done."
For 40 years now, audiences have been snickering at that line that makes the future savior of the galaxy sound like a whiny teen told to put down his Atari joystick and take out the trash. But, it turns out that's pretty much exactly the way the man who delivered it, Mark Hamill, intended it. That's what the legend told us when he stopped by the Entertainment Weekly Radio (SirusXM, channel 105) studios for an interview that will air Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. ET on EW Morning Live.
"That's funny you mention the Tosche Station," Hamill tells us before launching into a story of why he went so whiny. "I thought we might only be able to make the first film, because the second and third parts were predicated on how well the first one did. So I said, I'm going to have to make this as juvenile as I can so there's room for growth. And I sort of wanted to make it sound like I had four sisters and two bothers when you'd be in the car and they'd say things like, ‘You said we could go to the mallllllllll.' So I wanted to give that flavor."
Hamill says he knew even then during filming that it made his character sound less than heroic. "It was cringe-inducing even at the time," he says "But I explained to George [Lucas] what I just said to you, and he said, ‘Yeah, okay, do it.' Little did I know that it would haunt me for decades. In fact, Empire magazine said that the top Luke Skywalker moment of all five movies is that line. That's when I knew that they didn't know what they were talking about. I was so insulted."
Of course, as Star Was super fans know, there was even a scene at Tosche Station that was deleted from the final cut that necessitated some other changes as well, including the addition of another famous line. "All of his peers ridiculed him," says Hamill of the way Luke was treated on Tatooine. "They call him Wormy. He's been out in the sun too long so you know he's not particularly popular. He sees Biggs Darklighter, who later dies on the assault of the Death Star. That's why I turn off the targeting device, when I see my best friend die. But since it's rendered meaningless since you hadn't seen him, then they had [Alec] Guinness come in and say ‘Uuuuuuse the force, Luke.' That's when I turn off the targeting device. But what I thought was really interesting is when you see Biggs, he's in an Imperial uniform. So Luke goes, ‘Cool!' He has no political persuasion. It's just, get off of Tatooine. And I thought that was important."
And once Luke did get off Tatooine, worrying about power converters became the least of his problems. To hear Hamill discuss his thoughts on the infamous Tosche Station line, click on the SoundCloud above, and then tune into EW Morning Live (SiriusXM, channel 105) at 8:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the full interview.