Mark Hamill Talks Star Wars 7, BB-8, and His Jedi Beard

Given that this is a JJ Abrams movie, the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't allowed to say much about the upcoming movie. Now that at least the trailer's out though, it seems that a bit of the curtain's been lifted.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Movies, Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, discussed his experience being on the Episode VII set. Here are 5 things we learned.

1. BB-8 is a practical effect!

They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know? I said, “How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?” And then they have this new one. I can’t even tell you his name, but you saw it in the trailer. And when they were demonstrating how they did this thing, live on set — because it’s not CGI, that’s a live prop — I was just amazed. They let me play around with it. [Laughs] I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood. I’m telling you, it’s an absolute delight. And not having thought that I’d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just – I get the chills. It’s just so much fun.

2. He was surprised that Harrison Ford came back.

Well, you know, he was someone that was unpredictable. I hadn’t seen him in years; I didn’t know what his feelings were. I know he’s sometimes grown impatient with people that don’t want to focus on what he’s doing currently and want to go stroll down memory lane. God knows, I’m used to that sort of thing. But who knew? And for him to jump back in so enthusiastically, I was delighted. It’s a wonderful character. Everybody loves Han Solo.

3. They made him grow the beard.

That is what I call my contractually obligated beard. Listen: I think they look fine on other people. It’s just not me. I mean, I never got used to it. But face foliage is almost a part of the costume. And it does bring a gravitas, perhaps unearned, but nevertheless, it makes a statement that they wanted to make, and I’m more than happy to oblige them.

4. He's watched the trailer (but not in a theater).

You know, I watched it online. It’s funny: I have three children —Nathan, Griffin, and Chelsea, and my wife Mary Lou — and three of them went off to movie theaters to see it in a movie theater! [Laughs] I said, “You guys are such gigantic Star Wars nerds.” And you know, to tell you the truth, it probably would have been fun to see it in a theater with a packed audience. But the great thrill for me was watching the video of fans watching the trailer. Did you see that? Oh my god! I forget how happy this stuff makes a certain segment of our population. I mean, I really was moved to see these people that happy. It was wonderful. So for me, that was the most memorable thing about it — the reaction more than just the minute-and-a-half that it’s on the screen.

5. He's okay with being a "supporting character."

This is about the new generation of characters; I think that’s the most important thing. It’s the opening act of a whole new approach to the storytelling. So I never thought that the stories would be – first of all, I never thought I’d be involved in it again, period. And then when George [Lucas] said that they wanted to do more, I rightly assumed that it wouldn’t be our story, because we had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This must be our offspring and the current generation, with us there lending the kind of support that Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness did in the original. So no, [the trailer focusing on new characters] didn’t surprise me.  And I mean, I’m one of those people where I just think, “Keep me out of it. I’ll ruin it, I’m sure!” [Laughs] I’ll show up and just ruin the whole thing.

Ryan Matsunaga's picture
Ryan is the head blogger at 8CN. He really likes pancakes. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMatsu
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