With his big interaction with fans on social media over the past couple of years, Star Wars icon Mark Hamill is clearly loving the renaissance of creator George Lucas’ legendary space opera – especially since the first chapter, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release on May 25th. The anniversary alone would have any actor who participated in the classic film excited enough, but Hamill, of course, has much more to look forward to this December when Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi is released.
His role in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was brief but pivotal, and it served as the perfect set-up for the next chapter, which promises to feature a lot more of the clearly sullen Jedi Knight in his elder and wiser state.
On Saturday, Hamill tweeted what could be described as the bookend to his current Obi-Wan Kenobi-like looks with what he says is the first photo of Luke Skywalker ever taken, long before he learned the power of The Force. Taken in the early morning on the first day of shooting in Tunisia, Hamill says the photo took place as he emerged from his Tatooine desert dwelling to head off to the auction where, in the context of the movie, he and Uncle Owen (Phil Brown) purchased R2-D2 and C-3PO.
For those who don’t already have the script and movie, scene-by-scene, memorized, the auction is where Luke, after R5-D4 goes to pot, famously yells, “Uncle Owen, this R2 unit has a bad motivator, look!” It’s also the scene in which the grizzled Owen, in an effort to get C-3PO to stop babbling about how he speaks Bocce, says, “Alright, shut up!”
In the unlikely event someone else comes forward with the claim of an earlier photo of Luke, Hamill’s first-day picture on the set of the movie is truly an historic find. Sure, there have to be costume-fitting shots out there, etc., but in the age of 35mm film photography in comparison to the ease of taking digital photos today, it isn’t a stretch to imagine these types of photos are very rare. People have to remember, this image of Hamill was taken before Star Wars became what is regarded as one of the greatest films of all-time, so it’s unlikely anybody was running around on set shooting photos and treating it like they were documenting cinematic history in the making.
It’s great to see Hamill so enthusiastic about the Star Wars saga, given that he’s probably still deeply heartbroken over the loss of his beloved co-star Carrie Fisher last December. With any luck, Hamill will reveal more classic photos from the first film in the coming months – as well as never before seen, on-set stills from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. If he does so, it will not only give fans warm feelings of nostalgia from yesteryear, but will be a classy way to continue to commemorate the legacy of Fisher and her portrayal of Princess Leia. The emotion over Fisher’s presumably last appearance in a Star Wars film (barring a reversal of the decision not to create a CGI version of her for Episode IX) with The Last Jedi continues to cast a pall in the air, so anything Hamill does to honor her positive life force will be a cause for celebration.