Mark Hamill, the man who plays Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, is known for having a heart of gold and loving his fans. Luke Skywalker is one of the greatest heroes in all of fiction, but now we know that Hamill is an actual, real-life hero in a big way. Recently, it was revealed that the actor paid a visit to a terminally ill fan. Screenwriter Ed Solomon (Men In Black) revealed the story, along with Joe Sikorra, whose son John died of a rare disease in 2015. But before he passed away, he was paid a visit by Mark Hamill. Here's what Sikorra had to say.
"Around 1998, my son, John, was diagnosed with a very rare genetic disorder called juvenile Batten's Disease (JNCL). The disease robs kids of their vision first followed by cognitive motor function. Typically kids die in their late teens, early 20s. It is a very complicated disease and most doctors aren't that familiar with it. So we lived in the moment, did as much as we could."
Joe Sikorra was friends with Ed Solomon and he decided to reach out to the screenwriter to see if he could somehow connect with Mark Hamill to make a meeting happen. Solomon had never met Hamill, but he made a few calls and, because Hamill is an stand-up guy, they were able to arrange the meeting.
"I had never met Mark, but I called his agent and asked if this could happen. Mark's agent said, 'Please don't say anything to the boy because I don't want to get his hopes up.' And then, literally less than two minutes later, Mark calls and said, 'I would love to. How about tomorrow?' I started bawling."
The very next day, Mark Hamill showed up and met with Solomon, Joe Sikorra and both of his sons. They spent a large portion of the day with one another. Unfortunately, John was not in the greatest state of mind, due to his disease. He had a very difficult time separating Mark Hamill, the person, from Luke Skywalker, the character. Despite that, Sikorra says Hamill handled the whole thing with true class.
"Mark spoke to John simply and directly and with utter dignity John would ask the same question three times in a row, and Mark would answer the same way every single time. Mark was just super patient and kind. It was was one of those beautiful experiences. It is very humbling, this disease. You have got to let go of your normal expectations for you and your kids and family. In the midst of struggle and tragedy, it was those points of connection that makes you feel loved and less isolated. Mark was very kind, 'no rush, my time is your time.' "
At this point, Mark Hamill had already done more than anyone could possibly expect. But he still had a little more to give. John really wanted to meet Princess Leia as well. Even though the meeting with the late Carrie Fisher never actually happened, Hamill did arrange it. Here's how Ed Solomon tells it.
"So, Mark says are there any final questions, and John asks, 'Can I meet Princess Leia?' And Joe and I looked at each other and winced, and I remember Joe waving his arms to Mark, like you don't have to do this. And Mark said, 'I'll ask.' And Mark called me later that day and said 'Princess Leia would be happy to meet John.' I told her about the family. She got very emotional about the unfairness of things in life. And she said 'I only have two questions: Where and when?' Unfortunately, John's situation started to deteriorate pretty quick after that, so we couldn't met up with Carrie. But Carrie had agreed to do it and that came through Mark."
Sadly, John passed away on September 24, 2015, at the age of 23. But he got to meet his hero before his untimely passing. His father says, "It was one of those very touching, moving things. And in that moment, it raised John up and made him feel good and important and loved." This story was not really made public until now, but Ed Solomon says he just wanted to put some positivity in the world.
"There has been so much negativity out there these days and every time I see one of my heroes trending, I have to look through my fingers to see what bad thing they might have done. And because of Last Jedi, I have been seeing Mark's face everywhere and it reminded me [of the John story]."
Indeed, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is just around the corner, so Mark Hamill has been all over the news. But not a shred of negative news has surrounded the man. Ed Solomon originally made this story known on Twitter, which caught the attention of Hamill. The actor responded by saying that he wished he could have done more.
There's no sweeter sound than a child laughing, I've been so lucky-feel it's my duty 2 give back in any way I can, Much prefer visits 2 hospitals than talk-shows Heartbreaking but inspirational-makes my career seem trivial in comparison, Wish I could do more"
It has been a very rough time for those who have heroes in Hollywood, given the tidal wave of harassment scandals coming to light. But this story, which was detailed by The Hollywood Reporter, proves that there's still a lot of great in the world as well. Mark Hamill is one of those figures putting some of that great into the world. You can check out Ed Solomon's original tweets, as well as Mark Hamill's response, for yourself below.
There's no sweeter sound than a child laughing-I've been so lucky-feel it's my duty 2 give back in any way I can-Much prefer visits 2 hospitals than talk-shows— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 5, 2017
Heartbreaking but inspirational-makes my career seem trivial in comparison-Wish I could do more❤️ https://t.co/nXXutNfYsa
WHY I WILL LOVE @HamillHimself FOREVER (THREAD OF 4):— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) December 4, 2017
When a friend's son (who was, so tragically, dying from an incurable illness) made a wish: to meet Luke Skywalker, it fell on me -- the only person the dad knew who worked in the film business -- to make a call. 1/4
Not knowing Mark, I called his agent and explained that this lovely boy watched Star Wars every day and wanted to meet NOT Mark Hammill, but, rather, the actual CHARACTER that he played (the boy's own mental state had devolved past the point of being able to grok that... 2/4— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) December 4, 2017
..Luke was fictional). The agent begrudgingly said he'd call Mark, but also said not to get my hopes up. 90 seconds later I got a call from @HamillHimself, who immediately said yes and gave me his home address. 3/4— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) December 4, 2017
He not only met with the boy, but spent hours answering question after question (sometimes the same ones repeatedly), AS "Luke." Even posting this now makes me teary. He was compassionate, kind, and patient. And it literally meant the world to this kid and his family. 4/4— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) December 4, 2017