Many consider George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy as a dark time in the franchise's long history, with everything from Jar Jar Binks to the digitally-created backdrops to the performances by Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen coming under intense scrutiny by fans. Now that the sci-fi series is more popular than ever, thanks to the massive success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the saga's biggest icons, Mark Hamill, is defending the prequels and its once young star Jake Lloyd. The actor also revealed in a recent interview that he was scared to return as Luke Skywalker, saying that he almost appeared in the 2010 anti-Star Wars documentary The People Vs. George Lucas.
Defending the Star Wars prequels seems to be en vogue as of late, with Star Wars 8 director Rian Johnson defending the trilogy on Twitter in December, stating that all three movies combine into a "7 hour long kids movie about how fear of loss turns good people into fascists." Vulture caught up with Mark Hamill while he was promoting his new film Brigsby Bear at the Sundance Film Festival, where he spoke about out about fans and their treatment of the prequel trilogy.
"I couldn't believe some of the things they wrote about the prequels, you know. I mean really, beyond I didn't like it you ruined my childhood. I'm still angry about the way they treated Jake Lloyd. He was only ten years old, that boy, and he did exactly what George wanted him to do. Believe me, I understand clunky dialogue."
While George Lucas is widely praised for this galaxy far, far away that he created, he is often criticized for his dialogue. The actor went on to add that he does have his "issues" with George Lucas, but that they are still good friends. He also adds that he almost participated in the 2010 documentary The People vs. George Lucas until he realized what the film was really about.
"I almost got hornswoggled into appearing in that documentary. They weren't calling it The People Vs. George Lucas at the time, but I could tell from the questions they were asking that it was an open invitation to trash George. I have issues with George, but I love that man. I don't talk outside the family. It's just brutal. One of the reasons I would never let my kids be in show business. Wait 'till you're 18, because it's going to be an endless life of rejection, ridicule and unemployment."
During his wide-ranging conversation at Sundance, Mark Hamill also spoke about how he wasn't sure he wanted to come back as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Naturally, he did end up returning, alongside original trilogy stars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, but he thought there was no way Harrison Ford would agree to return as Han Solo. Here's what he had to say.
"Let's leave well enough alone. There's a beginning, a middle and an end. The only thing we can do is come back and disappoint people. I thought, if they do another trilogy, it won't have us in it. It will be all new characters, so I was really frightened about it. I knew I couldn't resist the challenge, but I said, Here's the thing. If it's not in solidarity with Harrison and Carrie, that's my escape route. I said he'll never do it. He's too rich and too cranky, he'll never do it. He gets cranky about Star Wars because he has such a varied resume, but once he said in the press that he was doing it, I thought, 'Well, I just got drafted.' Because if I said no to this, these people are going to be outside my house like the angry villagers in Frankenstein, with lightsabers instead of torches. I'll be the most hated man in fandom. I was shocked that I was only in the last minute or so, but it was the best of both worlds because I could really sort of enjoy it. I was sorry that I didn't get to reunite with any of the original characters, but I could enjoy it all without having the responsibility on my shoulders. So if it was horrible and everybody hated it, I could say, 'See, it's not my fault."
Barring some sort of unpredictable surge in popularity, the Star Wars prequel will likely be seen as the black eye of this franchise for many years to come, although it hardly matters in the grand scheme of things. This year, fans will be treated to Star Wars 8, with a Han Solo spin-off coming in 2018 and Star Wars 9 in 2019, along with another spin-off in 2020, rumored to center on Boba Fett. Take a look at these new videos with Mark Hamill at Sundance, where he talks about the Star Wars prequels and more.