Star Wars

Star Wars: Episode IX –Carrie Fisher was meant to be ‘more prominent’ in franchise’s ninth film, says Mark Hamill

Ahead of December’s release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Luke Skywalker actor says Leia was supposed to play an even larger role in the ninth instalment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 12:18pm

Carrie Fisher’s death has left a void in a galaxy far, far away – as well as our very own.

The beloved actress and writer, who died from sleep apnoea and other factors last December, reprises her role of princess-turned-general Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in cinemas December 14), the franchise’s eighth instalment.

But according to Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the sci-fi saga, her character was meant to be an even larger part of the action in Star Wars: Episode IX (due out in December 2019), which recently found a new director in J.J. Abrams after Colin Trevorrow’s departure.

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“You’re going to really love her in [Last Jedi],” Hamill says during a fan event at New York Comic Con. “I know they’re going to try and find a way to close her story in [episode] nine that gives her the respect she deserves, because [Han Solo] was more prominent in seven [ The Force Awakens ], Luke’s a little more prominent in eight, and certainly Leia was meant to be more prominent in nine.

“Worldwide, everyone feels that gap she left,” Hamill continues. “But we all have to hang in there. And, if she’s out there somewhere, we have to give her the one-finger salute. Come on everybody, for Carrie,” he says, imploring the crowd to all raise their middle fingers in the air as a tribute to Fisher, 60.

Earlier, Hamill got emotional discussing his long-time friend and co-star, whose mother, screen legend Debbie Reynolds, died one day after Fisher from an intracerebral haemorrhage caused by high blood pressure at age 84.

They are survived by Fisher’s daughter, actress Billie Lourd, who described their deaths as “surreal and impossible to deal with” in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres last month.

“[Fisher] deserves to be here,” Hamill says. “I wanted her to be [here] because her daughter, Billie, is in [Last Jedi].”

“Ordinarily, her timing was exquisite, but in this case, it’s heartbreakingly difficult to even acknowledge the loss,” he adds. “And I’m selfish about it. I talk about, ‘Oh, she would’ve made things so much more fun.’ But think about what Billie’s going through. Not only to lose her mom, but the very next day, her grandmother? It’s just unimaginable. I can’t think of anything quite like it.”

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Otherwise, Hamill mostly steered away from Star Wars during his two-hour onstage talk, instead choosing to reminisce on his childhood, voice work as The Joker in the Batman animated series and role of The Trickster in The Flash. But he did tease a more cynical, downbeat Luke in the upcoming Last Jedi, which fans caught a glimpse of in a first trailer for the film released in April.

“No one just wants to see a retread of Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Hamill says. “We’ve seen the benevolent Jedi master training people.” In the trailer, “Luke says, ‘I only know one truth: It’s time for the Jedi to end’. You haven’t figured out what Luke’s been doing for 30 years, [but] how does the most optimistic character in all the movies get to that point? It won’t be much longer now until you find out.”

A new Last Jedi trailer will be released late on October 9 in the US, the same day tickets go on sale for the film.