It wouldn't be another day without a Star Wars: Episode VII story, and today we have a new photo of Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The actor is seen alongside a lightsaber-wielding Mickey Mouse in a promotional image for his appearance at Walt Disney World's Star Wars Weekends from June 6 through June 8, which hints at Luke Skywalker's new bearded look. It's worth noting that Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor both sported facial hair when they played Obi-Won Kenobi, so it's possible that Luke Skywalker could be training his own Jedi apprentice. The actor has also lost a considerable amount of weight to play Luke Skywalker again, which he comments on in a new interview that you can check out below this photo.
In a new interview with The Orlando Sentinel for his Star Wars Weekends appearance, the actor spoke about how he is preparing for his return as the Jedi master, how spoilers were handled on the set of the first movies, pleasing the hardcore fans, his reunion with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels, and how this movie helps fulfill George Lucas' longtime desire to see the original trilogy stars as elderly characters.
While we know that Star Wars: Episode VII has already started production, it isn't clear if Mark Hamill has started shooting his scenes yet, since it will likely be a rather long production. When asked about how he is preparing for the new sequel, the actor had this to say.
"I've altered my diet. I've started working out. There's that. But on the film itself: I toured the departments, I've looked at wardrobe, and I saw the creature shop. I went around and met all the cast people, saw the technicians working on some new things."
Although it has only been 37 years since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, the influx of new technology and the advent of "spoilers" definitely makes the original seem like it was shot a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Here's what the actor had to say about how spoilers were treated on the original trilogy sets.
"This is a whole different world ... The first one, no one cared. The second one there was a lot of interest, but it was before the Internet. ... I tell people we're not trying to annoy you or tease you or play some massive game. Basically what the goal is to keep the surprises for the movie instead of spoiling them on the Internet."
There had long been rumors that franchise creator George Lucas had wanted to make Star Wars: Episode VII, Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX, but it never came to fruition until Disney purchased LucasFilm in October 2012. Mark Hamill revealed that George Lucas had always envisioned seeing the original stars as elderly characters.
"He always liked the idea of seeing the original characters as elderly characters."
The actor also discussed the pressure to please what he calls "UPFs," or Ultra-Passionate Fans.
"Look, I'm aware that a lot of people don't care one way or another, but for the UPFs - the ultra passionate fans - they would come after me like the angry townspeople with torches in the old Frankenstein pictures. I would have a lot to answer for if I didn't at least try to make the effort. It's not like I had a choice. I feel like I was called up for service by the Selective Service."
When the cast was finally revealed in April, the announcement was accompanied with a photo of all the actors together in the same room with director J.J. Abrams for a table read. Mark Hamill spoke about reuniting with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels.
"I hadn't seen Tony Daniels or Carrie (Fisher) or Harrison (Ford) or Peter Mayhew in ages. ... It was wonderful to see them again, because I didn't expect to. Again, this is all so unexpected. It's like getting out that pair of pants you haven't worn in five years and finding a 20-dollar bill in the pocket. Oh, this is nice."
The actor also commented that he believes he thinks George Lucas feels a sense of relief in passing the franchise on to a different director.
"I think he [George Lucas] really feels a great relief of passing this property into the right hands. I couldn't be more exciting even nominally a part of the Disney family."
While he wouldn't say much about the prequel trilogy, the actor revealed he watched them from a distance.
"In my mind, there was a beginning, and a middle and an end for me and my association with George's trilogy. It was firmly in the past. When the prequels came out, I watched from a distance, but I was totally fine."
"I haven't seen those movies since they were in movie theaters. I don't watch them on home theater or DVD. There are people who are far more expert in it than I am. They know more, way more, about them than I do, and they care more. ... You don't have to love them, but I am surprised sometimes at how vehemently they get if they're not satisfied, which is scary. I have this feeling that no matter what we do there's going to be a faction that really is disappointed. You just can't live up to that. Any kind of reunion type endeavor, whatever it is ... you can never go home again."