The Most Famous Star Wars Betrayal Happened Offscreen

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

star wars betrayal

Star Wars is a franchise full of famous betrayals, including Anakin Skywalker betraying the Jedi, slaughtering younglings, and becoming the galactic menace Darth Vader. However, the biggest franchise betrayal happened offscreen, though Vader was still involved. According to Mark Hamill, he and Harrison Ford were at a screening of The Empire Strikes Back, and when the “I am your father” reveal happened, the older man turned to Hamill and exclaimed, “Hey, kid, you didn’t f***ing tell me that.”

The Story

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Mark Hamill revealed this particular Star Wars betrayal when he appeared on the Graham Norton Show. The Luke Skywalker actor is usually very family-friendly in his media appearances, which is a handy habit for someone who has voiced so many iconic cartoon characters.

In this case, Hamill apologized for the vulgarity but jokingly told the TV host that he only repeated the f-bomb “for historical accuracy!”

A Huge Secret

While the legendary Star Wars actor may have had his tongue firmly in cheek during the interview, he made it sound like he really saw keeping such a major secret as a betrayal of his friends and colleagues.

He claimed that he was “thrilled” when the movie revealed that Vader was Luke’s dad because the actor didn’t “like having the burden” of keeping such a secret. He then joked that he is “clearly dangerous” when he has such major secrets for the simple fact that “I talk in my sleep.”

While filming the various Star Wars movies, Harrison Ford had a very close relationship with both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, so we can see why he would consider not hearing about the Vader reveal as a betrayal.

However, the Han Solo actor might have felt better about this particular secret because he wasn’t the only one kept in the dark. In fact, this was arguably the most closely guarded secret in the history of this famous franchise.

Even Hamill Was Kept In The Dark At First

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Mark Hamill revealed on Twitter that when they filmed the famous reveal scene of The Empire Strikes Back, there was no mention of Vader being Luke’s father. Instead, David Prowse (the imposing bodybuilder who did the physical acting for the Sith Lord) said a completely different line. During filming, what he said was “‘You don’t know the truth, Obi-Wan killed your father.”

How It Worked

This seeming Star Wars revelation sounded like a major betrayal, so nobody on set batted an eye at Mark Hamill’s emotional denial of Vader’s words. Secretly, though, Hamill already knew the real Vader twist, and this was a secret kept by exactly three men: Hamill, George Lucas, and director Irvin Kershner. Because all of Prowse’s dialogue was redubbed by James Earl Jones, Lucas simply went back in later and added the true line.

Ford Was The Only One Who Teased Hamill

Harrison Ford wasn’t the only Star Wars actor who felt the betrayal of this secret…outside of Hamill, Lucas, Kershner, and Jones, the cast and crew had to find out about this shocking reveal like the rest of us: by watching the movie. Still, it sounds like Harrison Ford was the only one who openly teased Hamill about keeping such a major secret inside his tunic.

We love this story, though, because it reveals that the two actors had a kind of brotherly relationship that extended beyond the film, right down to the Han Solo actor still affectionately calling the Luke Skywalker actor “kid” when the cameras weren’t rolling.

As for Hamill, we’re impressed he managed to hide such a major secret from the cast and from the entire world. Great shot, kid…truly, that was one in a million.