Mark Hamill Reveals Secret To The Ending Of Beloved Star Wars Sequel

Mark Hamill has been plenty vocal about Star Wars, and this time he has detailed some secrets about the ending of one of the most famous sequels in cinema history.

By Vic Medina | Published

mark hamill star wars

After more than 40 years, you would think that Star Wars fans had squeezed out of the cast and crew every possible anecdote about the making of the original trilogy of movies. However, we are still getting little nuggets of knowledge and fun factoids about the films, particularly out of Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The 70-year-old actor is active on social media and often provides recollections about his time on the set. A quick scan of his Twitter feed is full of such insight, and one tweet provided an interesting fact about the final scene of The Empire Strikes Back.

Ever ready to answer fan questions about the making of the films, Mark Hamill answered a question from author Justin Berger about the final scene of Empire. Fans had long noticed that both Hamill and Carrie Fisher looked slightly different (Fisher is sporting a new hairstyle). leading many to believe it was a late addition. Hamill confirmed that in the tweet, saying “Filmed 4 months after we wrapped principal photography on #ESB, it wasn’t a ‘re-shoot’, it was an added scene,” he said. “Concerned about the downbeat ending & thorough defeat of the protagonists, they wanted to add an uplifting moment of hope & rejuvenation to reassure the audience.”

Today, it’s almost inconceivable that The Empire Strikes Back could have been released without that final scene, making it much darker and less hopeful. The final scene not only set up the introduction of Luke’s mechanical hand but also established Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) as a committed ally to the rebel cause. While The Empire Strikes Back would have still been just as beloved by fans and acclaimed by critics without it, Mark Hamill was right: the last scene was a welcome addition to the final cut.

As an interesting side note, Mark Hamill’s revelation shows just how pressed for time Lucasfilm found themselves as the May 1980 release date loomed. Production officially wrapped on September 9, 1979, after more than 130 days of filming spread over six months. If indeed production wrapped in early September, and the final scene was filmed four months later, that would have placed it sometime in late December or early January. That is the same time frame that John Williams held his sessions to record the film’s score, making for a pretty tight schedule, considering the special effects the scene also included.

Mark Hamill has even provided some insight into the new trilogy of films as well. In another recent tweet, he revealed that Episode VII: The Force Awakens had a much different opening. He confirmed a rumor that the opening shot would show Luke’s severed hand from The Empire Strikes Back floating through space, with his lightsaber still in its grip. It then enters the atmosphere of a planet, where the hand burns away, and the lightsaber lands on the ground. In his usual style, Hamill saw the humorous side of it.

With George Lucas no longer at the helm of Lucasfilm, Mark Hamill has become the gatekeeper (of sorts) of the Star Wars legacy. He is the most visible face of the entire franchise’s cast, and his constant interactions with fans on social media are the source of lots of continuous buzz and nostalgia trips for the films. His appearances in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian helped unite a fandom split after the controversial Sequel Trilogy angered fans who felt it didn’t live up to the other films. It’s hard to imagine where the franchise would be today without him.

This is the way.

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