Mark Hamill Talks STAR WARS and the New Trilogy; Hopes for a Balance Between CGI and Practical Effects

     May 6, 2013


As part of this weekend’s celebration of “Star Wars Day”, a special screening of Return of the Jedi was hosted in Los Angeles by Entertainment Weekly, followed by a surprise Q&A with Mark Hamill.  As one can imagine, a great deal of the conversation revolved around the new trilogy and director J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII.  All signs have pointed to Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford all appearing in Episode VII in some capacity, and during the Q&A Hamill talked about the meeting he and Fisher had with George Lucas in which Lucas first told them about the new movies.  He also confirmed that he’s had one meeting with Episode VII producer Kathleen Kennedy about Abrams’ film, and talked about what he hopes to see in the new films.  Hit the jump for much, much more.

star-wars-mark-hamill-carrie-fisherDuring the Q&A at EW’s CapeTown Film Festival, Hamill said that at his recent meeting with Lucas in which he and Fisher were informed of the new films, Fisher immediately proclaimed, “I’m in!”  He has only had one meeting about Episode VII since then, but during his sit-down with Kathleen Kennedy, he emphasized that it was important not to go full-CGI with the new films:

“There’s nothing wrong with CGI, but I think you have to have a balance because the camera perceives the width and the depth and the weight of a miniature or a model.” He just said he isn’t a fan of the one guy surrounded by greenscreen look and told Kennedy that he’d hate for these new movies to “look like Roger Rabbit.”

Hamill went on to say that Fisher is definitely in and he’s heard that Ford is onboard for Episode VII, but he hasn’t spoken personally with him to confirm.  Hamill has also yet to meet with J.J. Abrams, which is pretty understandable given that the filmmaker is currently juggling Star Wars prep with finishing and promoting Star Trek Into Darkness.

star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope-imageThe actor noted that he hasn’t read a script for Episode VII, but he imagines the roles of Luke, Leia, and Han will be more like Obi-Wan in the original trilogy:

“I want it to be age appropriate, so heavy on the Jedi mind tricks and lighten up on the lightsaber duels. Let the kids do the heavily lifting!”

Hamill did note that he’s not without hesitation with regards to revisiting the Star Wars universe:

“Part of me is cautious, saying ‘let well enough alone, let everyone keep their nice memories if they have nice memories and don’t try to go back and do it again.’ But the other side of me, the adventurous side, thinks ‘If everyone’s in, how could I miss this?”

star-wars-episode-v-the-empire-strikes-back-yodaThe actor wrapped things up with a sense of optimism about the new films:

“I’m one of you, I feel like you’re one of us. I’ll be in there fighting and trying to be as honest as I can be about what I think it is made these movies so special in the first place. It always starts with the script and that’s why I’m so encouraged by Michael Arndt’s involvement because I respect his writing so much. He’s a big fan of these movies, so hopefully we can make something that doesn’t make everyone want to find us, cut off our heads and throw it right in our faces.”

The actor noted more than once that he knows the producers aren’t exactly thinking, “We must please Mark Hamill!” but it’s nice to see that he cares deeply about the legacy of the franchise.  You can read a full rundown of the Q&A over at AICN.

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  • Lance

    He’s exactly right about the need to balance practical effects with CGI. Lucas’s passion became more about advancing the technology than focusing on the story, and that may be a big part of the reason why the prequels turned out to be lesser than the original trilogy.

    But Lucas alone isn’t to blame for the over-reliance on CGI. All of Hollywood is. There are still too few directors who acknowledge that there are downsides to the use of CGI. Guillermo del Toro being foremost amongst them. Maybe Christopher Nolan and Jon Favreau, too.

    • dodriz

      I don’t want to bash Del Toro but Pacific Rim appears to have an over abundance of CGI and not enough practical effects.

      • Spook

        They actual did as much practical effects as possible. Obviously you can’t build the entire 200-300 foot robots and Kaiju, but they did do a lot of practical effects.

    • daveyboy

      Yes, and if you look at Episode III, there is not one scene shot on any sort of location. And barely any sets at all either. It was really like one huge cartoon. So JJ….please! some awesome locations, practical effects, and character development!

      • chen

        Tatooine at the end was really filmed in Tunisia. Episode 3 rocks! JJ stay away from star wars.

  • Ryan D

    This is a big change of heart for Mark. He used to be on the outside looking in with regards to Star Wars. It is good that he is able to say “hey I am one of you guys.” With everyone providing good opinions into the development of these sequels, get prepared for one heck of a movie. Sorry George, those prequels are going to really look terrible after all this.

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    Spoken like a true Jedi master! I’m so glad Hamil is in on this! That is totally the way they need to approach this. When i was a kid, i fell in love with the incredible models and spaceships, and wanted to build model kits of it. The prequels had some cool ships but nothing was as cool as an AtAt or the Falcon or tie-fighters or xwings, speeder-bikes and star destroyers. All those ships were and are real to me. A republic gun-ship looks nice n all, but it looks video game like. The prequels did get the pod racers right though, shame about the cartoon pilots though.

  • Agniyo

    To be clear, is he saying that he doesn’t want anyone to cut off their heads and throw their heads in their faces?

    (P.S. I am really looking forward to these! I don’t expect them to be as good as IV-VI, but I expect them to be much better than I-III, and I can’t WAIT to see Han, Luke and Leia back on the screen after 30 years!)

  • chen

    I think Mark Hamill should not do star wars 7, especially with jj involved, because jj with fuck it up and tarnish it like he already has and like he did with star trek. They are going to over blow the movie with a ton of cgi anyway, iron man 3 is an example, and jj fucked that up by his ideas for it.

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  • poppincherry

    Those of you bitching that jj should tone down the CG are delusional. He is doing this for the studios and they dictate what should be done.Moreover, he’s helming a worn out ass franchise with no effng story to tell.

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