Mark Hamill Confirms Big Change To Classic Star Wars Ending

By Nathan Kamal | 2 months ago

Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill recently revealed on Twitter that the famed ending to The Empire Strikes Back was originally much, much more of a bummer. According to Hamill, the final scene of the middle entry of the original trilogy of Star Wars films, in which Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa stand in front of a space window with R2-D2 and C3PO, gazing out on a brilliantly shining galaxy was added after the movie was originally concluded filming. He specifies that it was not a re-shoot as we think of it nowadays (and instantly assume it means the film is in trouble, for some reason), but an entirely new scene filmed four months after principal photography was finished. Apparently, either George Lucas or some producer was worried that the ending of Empire was too bleak and depressing and wanted to end the film on a moment of hope. See the Tweet here: 

Honestly, this makes a lot of sense. The original trilogy of Star Wars films are now so iconic and seemingly complete in their storytelling that it is easy to forget they were essentially being made on the fly. Pretty much all films are subject to unexpected changes, either from production needs or studio demands or because a certain director let a certain star get his leg all broken up during film. Even now, Star Wars is getting pretty depressing and apparently making some changes. In this particular case, Mark Hamill is pretty accurate in pointing out that the ending of The Empire Strikes Back would have been a big downer if the movie had Han Solo frozen in carbonite, Luke be utterly demolished in combat by Darth Vader, and the last sign of the Rebel Alliance was their base on Hoth being destroyed. The added scene adds a certain sense of poignancy to the losses that the heroes have faced over the course of the movie, and reinforces the hope that has always been integral to the franchise. 

Mark Hamill

Sometimes it seems strange that Mark Hamill had such a Hollywood struggle after the original Star Wars trilogy concluded. Following Return of the Jedi in 1983, Hamill found himself typecast as a heroic Jedi Knight, even losing out a major role in one of the biggest Academy Award-winning films of all time because a producer told him “I don’t want Luke Skywalker in this film.” He spent years in small parts on cheap television shows like the 1990 version of The Flash, and began to knowingly parody himself in movies like Comic Book: The Movie and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Eventually, he found a second act to his career as an immensely talented voice actor, finding another iconic role in the animated version of The Joker. But his true calling became apparent with the advent of social media. Hamill has become an outspoken and witty personality of Twitter, with nearly five million followers as of now. He regularly posts supporting progressive social and political stances, as well as weird stuff that one of the greatest heroes of science fiction just happens to find funny. Keep Tweeting the good stuff, Mr. Hamill.