With Tuesday’s news that Lucasfilm was sold to Disney for $4.05 billion, fans around the world were in shock. Some are still reeling from this heavy dose of reality. Questions and discussions are flying around the Internet across chat rooms and forums. In what direction will Disney take the Star Wars franchise, and how will they approach it?
Entertainment Weekly had a chance to interview Luke Skywalker himself, actor Mark Hamill, to discuss the future of Star Wars and his reaction to this unexpected news.
“Oh my gosh, what a shock that was! I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it online like everybody else. He did tell us last summer about wanting to go on and do [Episodes] VII, VIII, and IX, and that [newly appointed Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy would be doing them. He seems to be in a really good place. He’s really happy. And that’s nice because I know that when we were making the movies, he was not a jolly guy on set. [Laughs] I always felt badly for him because he agonizes over details, and I’m sure after imagining it in his head for so many years, to see it realized — he’d look up and just hang his head and groan. Harrison [Ford], Carrie [Fisher], and I were always trying to cheer him up and joke him out of his doom and gloom. I missed his call yesterday, but I spoke to him maybe three weeks ago. But until we know more, it’s hard to make any comment other than congratulations to George.”
Hamill did have a reunion of sorts with co-star Carrie Fisher and Lucas over lunch. This is what they discussed.
“Yeah, last August, he asked Carrie and I to have lunch with him and we did. I thought he was going to talk about either his retirement or the Star Wars TV series that I’ve heard about — which I don’t think we were going to be involved in anyway, because that takes place between the prequels and the ones we were in and, if Luke were in them, he’d be anywhere from a toddler to a teenager so they’d get an age-appropriate actor — or the 3-D releases. So when he said, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,” I was just gobsmacked. “What? Are you nuts?!” [Laughs] I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be — and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material. It’s one of those things: people either just don’t care for it or are passionate about it. I guess that defines what cult movies are all about. We’ll see. I’m anxious to know what’s going on, but the main story [yesterday] was the sale to Disney. I have mixed feelings about that, but they haven’t done badly by Marvel and the Muppets and Pixar. It’s one of those big decisions that at first seems unusual but then the more you look at it, the more it makes sense.”
Hamill was asked if he had any insight into what the new films might be about, and if he would be involved with the new trilogy.
“Well, no, he was just talking about writers and the fact that he wouldn’t be directing. I guess he wanted us to know before everybody else knew. He said, “Now you can’t tell anybody!” [Laughs] Even now I’m nervous about saying anything. I just don’t know!”
The website The Wrap caught up with Dale Pollock, author of the unauthorized Lucas biography, “Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas,” he was allowed to read the outlines to the 12 stories written by the filmmaker, but was required to sign a confidentiality agreement. The next in the series, he said, involve Luke Skywalker in his 30s and 40s, but Lucas was unlikely to turn to Mark Hamill, who played Luke in the original but whose performance left the director dissatisfied.
“They will need an older Luke Skywalker,” Pollock said.
The as of yet untitled “Star Wars: Episode VII” is expected to open in theaters in May of 2015.