These days, when you get the chance to talk to Star Wars legend Mark Hamill or The Flash and Dawson's Creek star John Wesley Shipp, the first question is obvious.
So obvious, in fact, that Shipp has heard it a million times already.
"People keep saying 'is coming back to The Flash weird?'" Shipp admitted, when we asked him yesterday what the strangest part of putting on a superhero costume again was. "And it hasn't been [weird], as long as I was playing a very different Henry Allen. But once I suit up and Grant and I are running around, and suddenly I'm face-to-face with Mark Hamill's Trickster, it's like, who could have predicted that this would happen? It's really a trip."
It seems wildly unlikely: Shipp starred in The Flash in 1990 and 1991, with Hamill as a recurring villain. While Hamill was filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a new TV version of The Flash was coming together. Three years later, against all odds, he and the producers have found a way for Hamill to make an appearance as James Jesse in each midseason finale so far.
"I'd already watched The Flash because I wanted to see how they used John Wesley Shipp, who I admire so much," Hamill told ComicBook.com. "And I thought they were doing a great job! Then they called and said, 'Do you want ot be involved?' And I thought since I'm a contemporary of John's, I'll probably be the prison warden or I could be a cellmate of his -- who knows? When they said, 'No, we want you to be the Trickster,' I almost fell over. I was like, 'You can't be serious!' It was borderline danger to put on a skintight unitard 20 years ago, whenever it was, I don't think it's going to really work, you guys. Let's make it age-appropriate; it'll be goofy. But as you know, they have a very smart way of dealing with the characters and it was a much more subdued and sort of Hannibal Lecter-y version of the character."
There's another new take on display tonight, when the action takes Barry Allen to Earth-3, where an alternate reality version of Hamill's villain is menacing Earth-3's Central City -- the one protected by Shipp's Jay Garrick.
"We get a little peek into Jay's world over there," Shipp said. "You've seen the pictures of Mark's Trickster on Earth-3, you can get an idea of what that's going to be like: fun and games. It really was."
It's a nice coda for Hamill, who told us that "I was crushed" when the planned team-up of the Rogues against Shipp's Flash in a talked-about season 2 of the '90s show never happened. "I never got over that love I had for that kind of material, so it was a great thrill and completely unexpected."
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Shipp and Hamill return as The Flash and The Trickster (of Earth-3) on tonight's midseason finale, "The Present."