When Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was released in cinemas nobody expected it to blow up as it did. Almost overnight, the stars of the film, Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, became household names in the first great galactic cinematic adventure of all time.
But how do you follow the first blockbuster up? With the dark middle chapter that is The Empire Strikes Back, that’s how. And it has long been Hamill’s favourite movie in the series.
The Empire Strikes Back hit cinemas in 1980 and earned a staggering $550 million at the box office (approximately $2 billion in 2022).
Of course, the film was chocked full of some timeless moments that have become legends over the past forty years. Not only did it introduce Hoth and the Tauntauns at the movie’s opening, but it also had the incredible reveal that Darth Vader was actually Luke Skywalker’s father, as well as the first appearance of Jedi Master Yoda.
Hamill revealed in 2019 that he struggled to pick his favourite Star Wars movie, but there could only be one answer.
Hamill said: “It’s like, pick your favourite child! You like them all for different reasons. I guess I’d have to go with Empire, only because it was so unexpected to have the protagonist be so soundly defeated.”
He went on to describe a number of the shocking events that took hold of the franchise during the film which made it so influential. He said: “Losing the hand and the dad Vader, all of it was pretty unexpected. And it was much more cerebral. Yoda is such an important addition to the mythology.”
Hamill also had a lot of praise to heap onto the Star Wars creator George Lucas.
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Shortly after Luke Skywalker made his return in The Mandalorian season 2, videos swept the internet with people reacting to the hero’s comeback. And Hamill was sent a few of them by the Lucasfilm and Disney executive Jon Favreau.
Hamill recalled: “Jon sent me links to reaction videos, which were just — you know, I don’t get to see these things in the audience. To see grown men cry and just people screaming their heads off, it was really, really thrilling for me to see them enjoying it so much.”
But back when Star Wars was first released in cinemas in 1977, Hamill didn’t think it would continue past that.
Hamill said: “I had absolutely no inkling that we’d ever do it again.” But, decades later, once Fisher and Ford signed back up to join the franchise once again for Star Wars Episode VII, he couldn’t wait to go back to a galaxy far, far away.
On getting the call to return, he remembered: “Inside, of course, I was freaking out, but I kept a poker face. But Carrie slaps the table and goes, ‘I’m in!’”
Before long, he did the same.
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