Hello and welcome to a very special edition of Buried Credits we have dubbed “Star Wars Month”! For three weeks in January we will be exploring the films of the three main actors of the original Star Wars trilogy! Buried Credits, a column that deep dives into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits, continues this week with works featuring Mark Hamill.
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
It’s officially the end of Mark Hamill’s week here for Buried Credits: Star Wars Edition, so I figured what better way to end it than with a special bonus piece on A New Hope! This one’s going to be a bit shorter this time as the Star Wars franchise definitely isn’t a buried treasure, it’s just a treasure overall. We all know this movie (if you don’t you clearly live in a prehistoric times), but I figured this would be a fun way to look back at it and discuss its wonderfulness.
After first being released in May of 1977, Star Wars took the world by storm, becoming such a hit that it now currently has seven main films (with a two more on the way) and at least four spin-offs (again, more on the way), a few animated TV shows, and countless books, toys, and video games. Leading up to A New Hope, Mark Hamill had been in quite a few television show episodes and four made-for-TV movies and voiced a character for the animated film Wizards written and directed by Ralph Bakshi before auditioning for the role of Luke Skywalker at the recommendation from friend Robert Englund.
A New Hope is hands down my favorite Star Wars film, as well as one of my favorite films of all time, so it’s naturally hard to delve into Hamill’s acting in this as it’s hard for me to really separate him from the character that I grew up with. In all honesty it’s a very near perfect performance, rarely bothering me unless I’m really looking to nitpick, which I was here, which also hurt to do. Hamill perfectly portrays a whiny young adult who just wants to get out in the galaxy and do something amazing with his life as opposed to spending it all working as a farmhand on his family’s moisture farm on Tatooine. He perfectly captures that urgency to go out and explore and do things and fight the Empire as well as shows off his happy and adventurous side when fighting Stormtroopers and shooting down TIE fighters. The only thing Hamill isn’t great at is showing worry or fear. During the earlier scenes in the movie when he was supposed to be worried about Sand People or sad about the loss of his Aunt and Uncle, he barely looks upset. Granted, that could be part of his character – not actually worried or sad because he’s overwhelmed by finally doing something adventurous – but it’s still potentially bothersome. In the latter parts of the movie, though, he does a great job portraying the darker emotions such as when he’s worried about Ben (Alec Guinness) or when he’s stressed and nervous during the attack on the Death Star.
Overall, it’s an incredibly wonderful performance by Mark Hamill and he deserves all the praise and memories for portraying Luke Skywalker. On top of that, and being well known for voicing The Joker in so many Batman stories, he should also be known for the rest of his roles. He’s picked some stinkers to be in, but I say with great pride and love that he should also be remembered fully for his B-movie acting career that is full of wonderful performances and way too many under-seen films.
Now that it’s the end of Mark Hamill’s week, join us Monday when we delve into the career of our favorite space princess, Carrie Fisher!