As we reported yesterday, Mark Hamill has arrived on the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII. The movie is shooting in Ireland at the famed isle of Skellig Michael, which has already caused some problems with its harsh wealthier. Though shooting was delayed earlier in the week, the production is continuing on throughout the month of September. The local has not been friendly in the past, either. In fact, it almost claimed the life of the actor known as Luke Skywalker.
As production began on Star Wars: Episode VIII, news came out that Skellig Michael almost killed Mark Hamill during the first shoot there for The Force Awakens. The actor was saved from a dangerous fall on this island that rests just off the coast of Ireland in Kerry County. The same site has claimed the lives of others in recent years. And if it wasn't for a fast thinking tour guide, the world's most powerful Jedi would no longer exist, and this trilogy would have taken a very tragic turn for the worst.
Mark Hamill, who is 63 years old, was making the treacherous climb up Skellig Michael with its rough terrain when he slipped and fell. A guide from the Irish Office of Public Works was quick to react, noticing that Mark Hamill's footing had completely gone out from underneath him. An onlooker who saw the moment play out in real time thought Mark Hamill was a goner, and the incident shaved about a 100 years off everyone's life.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens crew had to get special permission to shoot at Skellig Micahel. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and sits 180 meters high, with around 600 hard to traverse steps that lead to a 6th Century monastery. The landscape is described as unforgiving by those that live in the area. And at the time of filming, the production crew made specific notes concerning Mark Hamill on the daily call sheets. This is what they read.
"Our lead actor is in his 60s and less agile than most."
Now that we know Mark Hamill survived, the saddest part of this story for fans is that we may not see a practical Mark Hamill engaging in a lightsaber duel anytime soon, with a body double or CG-motion capture stepping in to replace the 'less than agile' actor. As most who have been following Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the past few years know, this wasn't the only deadly incident that happened on set. It was widely reported that Harrison Ford had a hydraulic door on the set of the Millennium Falcon slam shut on his leg, shattering his ankle bone, which put him out of commission for a few weeks. During that same incident, director J.J. Abrams broke his back trying to lift the door off Han Solo. The filmmaker had to spend the rest of the shoot in a back brace.
Mark Hamill is back on the Ireland set of Skellig Michael this morning, shooting the first scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII under the direction of Rian Johnson. The production is only allowed to shoot in the month of September, causing the sequel to go into production earlier than expected. Right now, only the Skellig Michael scenes are being shot, with the rest of the movie to announce a later shoot date. Hopefully Mark Hamill has taken all the right precautions and won't allow for something like this to happen again.