J.J. Abrams is taking Star Wars: Episode IX script security to another level.
Mark Hamill gave EW a sense of some of the tactics the writer-director is employing for the next film in the franchise, where the actor will reprise his role as Luke Skywalker (presumably in the form of a Force Ghost, or in flashback, or both).
While on set for History’s Knightfall in Prague, Hamill said he has yet to shoot most of his scenes for the next movie, but some recent script changes were delivered under a rather intense new level of security — and he noted how things have evolved since the first Star Wars movie back in 1977.
“I still have to go over and do [Episode IX],” Hamill said. “Most of the parts I have coming up beside Star Wars are voiceover — there’s one big one, very high profile, I can’t announce now, that I’m really excited about. You know how it is these days, every time you sign NDAs. I remember back when I read the first Star Wars [script], I was like, ‘Wow, that’s the goofiest thing I’ve ever read.’ I gave it to my best friend to read, and I said, ‘What do you think of it?’ He said, ‘It’s really wild, it’s crazy, can I give it to Meredith?’ ‘Sure, go ahead.’ It went around to all my friends. Of course back then nobody cared. Nowadays it’s like working for some secret deep state government organization, like being in the CIA. They’re going to send rewrites over to Prague on this dark red paper that gives you a headache to read.”
The dark red pages were previously used on The Force Awakens. EW’s Star Wars reporter Anthony Breznican pointed out that they hinder copying since a photocopier will render dark red pages as black and unreadable. Yet script security measures have even tightened since the last movie. During filming for The Last Jedi, Hamill noted he was allowed to keep a paper script. Not so for the Episode IX.
“They’re going to fly [the rewrites] over with somebody from the company,” Hamill said. “They’re going to come and give it to me and wait for me to read it before I give it back. So no pressure! You can’t even keep it overnight. But that’s the way it is now.”
I point out that on HBO’s similarly security conscious Game of Thrones— which is taking some security tips from the Star Wars team for protecting its final season — scripts aren’t even on paper, but all in electronic form.
“I like to make notes, little cartoon drawings in the margins to help me visualize it … whatever you have to do to help remember it,” Hamill said. “You can’t do that in electronic form, it’s so impersonal. I’m old school and long for the days of paper scripts. They wound up letting me keep a script when we were doing [The Last Jedi], but I had to lock it up in a safe every night and then carry it with me and never let it out of my sight. And I can understand why — if [a script] gets out it ruins it for everyone.”
Hamill said he spent about a week on Episode IX previously and will return for more shooting amid his Knightfall schedule. In the History drama series, Hamill has joined season 2 as Talus, a battle-hardened veteran of the Crusades who trains a group of Knights Templar to fight evil in 14th century France (see a first look at Hamill as his Knightfall character).
The as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode IX will be released on Dec. 20, 2019. Follow @breznican for ongoing Star Wars scoop.