While Tuesday’s announcement of Disney purchasing George Lucas’s Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion may have caught everyone by surprise, the news that Disney was fast-tracking a new Star Wars trilogy that would begin rolling out to theaters in 2015 was something that Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, knew was in the works.
Speaking with EW, Hamill revealed that he and his cinematic sister Carrie Fisher had lunch with Lucas over the summer, during which the writer/director/producer revealed that there was indeed plans for three new films that would follow after the original Star Wars trilogy storyline.
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… [L]ast 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]
Hamill went on to explain that during the production of the first film he felt that Lucas would get frustrated that he was not quite able to realize the vision he had for the films in his head.
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.
Hamill also stated that the lunch conversation was clearly about the new trilogy and no mention of the sale to Disney was made. “I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it online like everybody else.”
As for whether he’ll be reprising his role of Luke Skywalker in the new films, Hamill stated in an interview on radio’s The Stephanie Miller Show yesterday that he had no idea yet.
I wish I could talk about it, it’s just that I don’t have enough information. I hate to say that, “No comment!” But I can’t really talk about it because I don’t know everything I need to know to be able to comment about it.
Admittedly a vague answer that can be read a in a number of ways from Lucas only confirming to Hamill and Fisher that the films were happening to Hamill’s agent is currently trying to work out a deal with Disney and his participation may be contingent on what they offer him to return to the franchise that launched his career.