It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. With Disney now in control of the franchise, we can expect either a new main installment or standalone film every year for the foreseeable future. But the franchise wasn’t always such a well oiled machine, especially when filming the original trilogy. Star Wars changed the game in regards to special and visual affects, but the technology was still being developed when George Lucas’ iconic first films were produced. Case in point: the less than cooperative puppet used for Yoda the Jedi Master.
Yoda was a sophisticated puppet, but it kept breaking down. So when it would start going haywire and the ears would move and the eyes wouldn’t open, they’d rush it up to Stuart Freeborn’s workshop and they’d say, ‘Turn around, we’re getting close-ups of Mark.’ So every time you see me talking and you can’t see Yoda, it’s a stick with a piece of tape on it. So I’m saying to that piece of tape, ‘But I can’t become a Jedi, I know I can’t.’ So, that was embarrassing.
The magic of film production, people. While entire generations have been captivated by Luke’s journey to become a Jedi, some of his scenes with Master Yoda were actually opposite a placeholder. Now that’s acting.
Although Mark Hamill may have had a hard time keeping it together during scenes with an imaginary Yoda, this would eventually become standard practice for the Star Wars franchise. Because while practical affects were used in the original trilogy, George Lucas went full green screen for the prequels. Following The Phantom Menace, Yoda was brought to life with CGI so he could jump around and battle various Sith Lords. So the likes of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen had to deal with a non-existent Yoda for each of their scenes with the little green guy.
In addition to the above anecdote, Mark Hamill also revealed another awkward Star Wars memory. He apparently had a very hard time filming the Obi-Wan’s death scene in A New Hope. Despite it being the franchise’s very first light saber duel, Hamill just couldn’t stop laughing in the moment where Luke lost his mentor. Yet another iconic Star Wars moment that was far less exciting on the other side of the camera.
With Luke properly entering the new trilogy with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we can hopefully expect plenty more amusing tidbits from Mark Hamill in the near future. The next installment into the Skywalker saga will hit theaters December 15th, 2017. Check out our full release list to plan your next trip to the movies.