The internet went into meltdown when it was announced that George Lucas would be selling Lucasfilm (and all of its components) to Disney and that Disney, in turn would be producing (at least) a new Star Wars trilogy, set after the events of The Return of The Jedi. The first film is set for release in 2015. This news was a shock to everyone… but not original Star Wars star Mark Hamill, who met with Lucas and his former co-star, Carrie Fisher in August to discuss the new series of films.
Hamill spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the news, and he divulged a few interesting titbits, which indicate that the films may be further along the production line than many think. Below is an exchange between the magazine and Hamill:
What did you make of the big news?
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!
It would appear that Hamill is pretty much in the dark about this latest news (or is he?), but Lucas often stated that Luke Skywalker would take on an Obi-Wan Kenobi-style role – if he ever made another trilogy of films. That now seems to be the case, although having said that…anything is possible. Like Hamill, I have mixed feelings about this news of Lucasfilm’s sale and the announcement of new Star Wars movies. The only way that I could get on-board with a new trilogy is if Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are involved. I don’t feel that I could invest in new characters or new scenarios at this stage in my life. It needs to have connective tissue with the past.
The latest scuttlebutt is that the previous announced Disney film 1952, written by Damon Lindelof and set to be directed by Brad Bird is indeed Star Wars: Episode VII, going under a codename. It’s a cool theory. I don’t believe it, but it’s a cool theory. However, like I said before – anything is now possible.
More on Star Wars when it comes in.
Sources: EW & AICN