Before the newest Star Wars trilogy was confirmed, rumors had been swirling for years about the franchise's expansion. The prequel films had done well at the box office despite their controversial reception. And, what's more, fans were ready to learn about what happened to the characters like Luke, Han, and Leia after Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. So, fans were thrilled when they learned Lucasfilm was working on Episodes VII-IX, but no one was more surprised than Mark Hamill. The actor recently described how surprised he was to learn about the new films and how he got drafted back into Star Wars.
Speaking at Salt Lake Comic Con, the iconic actor appeared in front of packed audience. It was there that Mark recalled a very important lunch he shared with George Lucas four years ago. The original Star Wars cast convened in Florida for Star Wars Celebration, and Mark revealed that his wife had sensed there was something special about the gathering. In fact, she believed George might reveal plans for a new Star Wars trilogy to Mark's amusement.
The actor reenacted the reaction he had to his wife's suggestion. "I laughed and laughed and laughed because [Lucas] had specifically told me, 'We're not going to be doing any more. I don't want to be doing these things in my 70s."
However, Mark's wife was correct. During that luncheon, George announced he was turning over Star Wars to Disney and that a new trilogy was imminent. The filmmaker also said the franchise's original cast would be tapped for the upcoming films but they were under no obligation to revisit the universe. Mark said that Lucas told the group, "Now, if you don't want to do it, we won't recast - we'll write you out."
"Now, I kept a real poker face. I felt like someone hit me in the stomach really hard, but I didn't know any reaction," Mark continued before telling the audience about Carrie Fisher's enthusiastic reaction. "Carrie Fisher of course said, 'I'm in!' I said, 'Carrie, Poker face! Poker face! Talk to your agent first!'"
Of course, fans know now Mark was more than happy to rejoin the Star Wars franchise as the actor did sign onto the new trilogy. The actor reprised the role of Luke Skywalker in Episode VII during the film's final moments, and Mark recently wrapped shooting on Episode VIII which is now in post-production. However, the actor was unable to talk about his involvement at all for a long time.
However, the actor has said he appreciates all the secrecy that goes into Star Wars. Speaking about Lucasfilm's strict non-disclosure policies, he told fans at Star Wars Celebration Europe, "They're not doing it to annoy you, they just want the surprise to be in the movie theaters, not the Internet. You don't want to know what you're getting for your birthday! So I understand why they're doing it." Recently, though, fans wondered if Mark had perhaps intentionally let it slip that he'd return for Episode IX ahead of Lucasfilm's official announcement. But, when it comes down to it, the actor's involvement with the film is something many fans had already assumed.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is slated to hit theaters on December 15, 2017. Episode XI will sail into theaters on May 23 2019.