Last night Entertainment Weekly’s CapeTown Film Festival celebrated Star Wars Day (May 4th) with a special 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi, which was followed by a surprise guest none other than Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. During a Q&A (via IGN), Hamill refused to confirm outright the rumours that he’s signed on to reprise the role Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia and Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming sequel Star Wars: Episode VII, but judging by his comments, it’s pretty clear we’ll be seeing the return of the Jedi come summer 2015.
“I don’t even think I believed that the third trilogy would feature us,” said Hamill, recalling comments from George Lucas about a potential third trilogy during the making of the original films. “I thought it would be all different characters. To my knowledge, we were just going to do a beginning, a middle and an end [in the Original Trilogy] and it was over.” He then went on to discuss his meeting with George Lucas and Carrie Fisher back in 2011, where he discovered that the long-rumoured Sequel Trilogy was back on the agenda: “We were trying to figure out, ‘What’s he going to talk about?’ Wait a second, I think he’s going to release these in 3D. Maybe he’s going to ask us to do publicity or something.’ We just had no idea. But my wife said, ‘What if he says, ‘We’re going to do more movies’?’ I said, ‘Yeah, right!’ It wasn’t even on the radar for me, at all.”
Moving on to the Sequel Trilogy itself, Hamill offered up some encouraging words for anyone disappointed by the CG-heavy nature of the Prequel Trilogy: “I’ve only had one creative meeting about the new films, but I do remember saying, ‘We’ve got to find a proper balance between CGI and old school [FX]. That’s what the challenge is, to try and meet expectations of what you guys want. I think there’s nothing wrong with CGI, but I think you have to have a balance, because the camera perceives the width and the depth and the weight – even if it’s a miniature model, the camera just realizes that. So when you have too much CGI and the clouds are CGI and the trees are CGI and the buildings are CGI, you’re getting to a point where the figure in the shot is like a hybrid of an animated film and live-action. And I want it to have an organic look so that we don’t get into Roger Rabbit territory. But I don’t imagine that the priority is what I want!”
And finally, despite expressing his dislike for their over-reliance on CGI, Hamill did offer some words of support for the Prequels: “The prequels weren’t meant to be [as funny]. They were much more solemn. I’m glad they had their own identity and atmosphere. You just have to be really careful, because I don’t want to criticize other people’s work. I love George. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. It’s like you can criticize America, but if you go over to Europe and you hear other people criticizing it, it gets your dander up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, ‘Jar-Jar was supposed to be irritating! He’s irritating to the other characters in the movie!’ I defend the prequels, totally, because that’s George’s choice. He earned the right to do what he wanted to do. He became a studio. He wasn’t just the director and writer; he was the studio as well. So those weren’t sort of the movies he wanted to make. Those were exactly the movies he wanted to make.”
Star Wars: Episode VII is currently scheduled for release in the summer of 2015.