Luke Skywalker is a lead character in Star Wars and a Pop Culture icon. Here are 10 things you might not know about Mark Hamill, who played Luke in the films.
Welcome to 10 Things wherein we discuss 10 ‘did you know?’ facts. Whether about an actor/writer/filmmaker, even a film or TV project, we cover it all!
In this edition, we focus on American actor Mark Hamill. He is of course most famous for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars media franchise. In addition, Hamill has voiced DC Comics villain The Joker in multiple animated projects beginning in 1992.
Is the Force strong with you today? Here are 10 things you may not know about Mark Hamill.
10. From A Sunny Climate, Like His Character
You might remember Hamill’s character Luke Skywalker hailed from Tatooine. This desert landscape planet was located in the Galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories, about as remote as possible for the Star Wars universe.
Some other notable inhabitants of Tatooine include Obi-Wan ‘Ben’ Kenobi and young Anakin Skywalker. Anakin’s stepbrother/Luke’s uncle Owen Lars and his wife Beru also resided on Tatooine.
As it turns out, Mark Hamill is well accustomed to a sunny climate. Hamill hails from Oakland, California although he moved around frequently as a child. Most Tatooine scenes were filmed in Tunisia although some were shot in Death Valley, California.
9. Not Quite Twins In Real Life
Towards the end of the original trilogy, it was revealed that Luke and fellow lead character Princess Leia Organa (played by the late Carrie Fisher) were brother and sister. Neither had suspected this in the entire time they’d known each other. In fact, as well as being siblings, they were also twins.
Despite this plot twist, there was actually a slight age difference between the two actors in real life. Hamill was born in 1951 while Fisher was born in 1956. This means Mark Hamill was 5 years Carrie Fisher’s senior despite portraying her twin.
8. Played A Joker-Esque Character
In the voiceover community, Mark Hamill is synonymous with The Joker. As a matter of fact, voicing Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime is perhaps his second most notable role, after Luke Skywalker. Despite delivering such a distinctive performance, Hamill had actually played a similar character one year before taking up the role, albeit in live-action.
Hamill made appearances as James Jesse/The Trickster, another DC Comics villain, in the 1990-91 Flash TV series. Starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen/The Flash and airing on CBS, Hamill appeared in 2 episodes of that show’s first and only season. He later reprised the role for The CW’s current Flash series (2014-present), where Hamill also reunited with Shipp, now playing Jay Garrick.
7. One of 7
In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker is portrayed as an orphan living on Tatooine. By this point, he has been raised by his step-Aunt and Uncle, without any closer or indeed biological relatives.
Owen and Beru had no children of their own and Luke believed he had no siblings. It is, therefore, assumed by himself and the audience that he is an only child. Of course, this turns out to not be the case, as already mentioned.
Mark Hamill’s real-life background could not have been more different. The now 70-year-old actor has six siblings – 2 brothers; Will and Patrick- and 4 sisters; Terry, Jan, Jeanie and Kim.
6. Pit Stop In Port Charles
Mark Hamill may have eventually wound up in The Galaxy Far Far Away. Like any working actor, however, he took on smaller roles before scoring his big break.
One such instance was on General Hospital. On the popular ABC soap opera, Hamill played ‘Kent Murray’ between 1972-73. This character was the brother of Carol Murray-Holmes, played by Ann Wyndham.
Just 4 years after leaving General Hospital, Hamill debuted as Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, kickstarting a 44-year (and counting) journey.
5. Absent From Arkham Origins
If you listen closely in Arkham: Origins, you’ll notice The Joker sounds different compared to previous Arkham games.
In spite of having voiced The Joker for over two decades by that point, Hamill did not reprise the role in this 2013 release. Instead, fellow voice actor Troy Baker (best known as ‘Joel’ in The Last Of Us) stepped in.
According to a 2020 Screen Rant article, this decision was made by Mark Hamill himself. The actor wanted to leave the iconic character on a high, after his performance in Arkham City. However, Hamill ultimately would return to the role in later projects.
4. Slightly Less Fresh Faced… By Comparison
When fresh-faced Luke Skywalker first appeared in a New Hope, Mark Hamill was around 26 years old at the time. Still at the beginning of his career, before anyone knew the heights that Star Wars would eventually reach in popularity.
As it turns out, Hamill’s counterparts in the sequel trilogy, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, were even younger in their first Star Wars film. As both British actors were born in 1992, they were approximately 23 years of age when The Force Awakens was released in 2015.
3. One Of The Last Remaining
More than 4 decades have passed since A New Hope was released. Sadly, this also means many of the main cast have died over the years.
The Star Wars fandom has already lost Sir Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and, most recently, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). In fact, these losses span 1994 to 2018.
Mark Hamill is one of 3 surviving major cast members from A New Hope, alongside Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO).
2. Almost Didn’t Return For Sequel Trilogy
Luke Skywalker is an unquestionably iconic character. Despite this, Mark Hamill almost didn’t return for the sequel trilogy. In fact, co-star Harrison Ford ended up convincing Hamill to sign on for The Force Awakens. This was in spite of initial reluctance from Hamill.
Instead of harbouring bitterness towards Star Wars, Hamill explained this thought process in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone: “I thought, why mess with it? The idea of catching lightning in a bottle twice was ridiculously remote… Can you imagine if I was the only one to say no? I’d be the most hated man in nerd-dom.”
1. Kept It To Himself
Empire Strikes Back is perhaps most synonymous with its now-iconic plot twist: Darth Vader didn’t kill Luke Skywalker’s father, he is his father. As it turns out, only a small number of people were aware of this swerve prior to the release including George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner and Mark Hamill.
Not even Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were in on the secret, as Hamill hid the major revelation from them.
Hamill expanded on this deception in a 2017 interview on The Graham Norton Show:
The idea of Alec Guinness being the real villain, I thought , ‘wow, what a spectacular twist.’ The director… took me aside and he said, “I have to tell you something. I know it, George Lucas knows it and when I tell you, you’ll know it. But if it leaks, we’ll know it was you. And he handed me the peice of paper that said ‘I am your father’. I was shocked.Mark Hamill (2017)
Hey, a secret’s a secret, right?