When we last saw Mark Hamill in the “Star Wars” saga, he was a mysterious hooded figure on a jagged, remote island off the coast of Ireland.
“For a cameo that brief, boy did they make me work,” Hamill jokes.
But in “The Last Jedi,” which Disney will release Dec. 15, Hamill plays a much larger role. “Star Wars” will buzz again — 34 years later — with its original hero. Luke Skywalker is back.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Hamill spoke by phone from Malibu, California. “It’s just the calm before the storm,” he said. “With something like this, it’s almost too high-profile for comfort.”
Hamill, though, is a veteran. He’s been living with the glare of “Star Wars” for a long time. “The movie had such an impact, you thought: Oh my gosh, I already know what the first line in my obituary is going to be,” he said. “Which is odd and eerie.”
Having briefly served as a copyboy at the AP’s Los Angeles bureau while a college student, Hamill introduced himself as “a fellow AP employee.” Jedi masters, it turns out, hail from the most unexpected corners of the universe.
AP: Do you ever reflect on how much your life changed by a simple audition for a funny-sounding science-fiction adventure more than four decades ago?
Hamill: The thing is, they got it down to two sets of three: a Han, a Luke and a Leia. There were three other actors, and then Carrie, Harrison and myself. And there was never a mix or a match. You go with one team or another. It’s just weird. I did a TV series called “The Texas Wheelers,” which I thought at the time was really groundbreaking. We got canceled so quickly, but if that had been a success, I wouldn’t have been able to do “Star Wars.” Fate is a funny thing. Who knew?
AP: After all these years, how did it feel to be Luke again?
Hamill: A thing that felt maybe wrong about coming back was the fact that the original trilogy had a beginning, a middle and an end. But there’s two ways of looking at that. On the one hand, it had closure. But if you look at it another way, it’s the story of how Luke went from becoming a farm boy to a Jedi and then the story ends. It would be like telling the story of how James Bond got his license to kill and became 007, and the story ends.
AP: So you had some hesitation?
Hamill: When they asked me to come back, it was scary. I thought, “Gee, it was hard to catch lightning in a bottle the first time. I don’t know if this is such a wise idea.” When we left, even if they were going to do…