Mark Hamill is very good at two things: Telling Star Wars stories and doing voices. Tuesday night on Late Night with Seth Meyers, he broke out both once again for a story about making the first film in the Skywalker saga.
Hamill was on Late Night to promote his History series Knightfall, but as a lifelong Star Wars fan Meyers also wanted to ask him about what it was like to make the original film back in 1976, working alongside Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and George Lucas. Hamill was, as usual, game to talk about it, and he used this particular instance to illustrate just how aware Ford was even then of what kind of film they were making and what kind of stylistic tone they should be setting.
According to Hamill, Star Wars was shot out of order, which meant they filmed some of the scenes that took place after the famous garbage compactor sequence before they ever got into the garbage compactor. Hamill argued that since the script said they'd just been swimming around in trash, his hair should still be dirty from the aftermath. That's when Hamill launched into a flawless impression of Ford's response.
"Hey kid, it ain't that kind of movie," Hamill recalled Ford saying. "If people are looking at your hair, we're all in big trouble."
"And I thought 'He's so right,'" Hamill said.
Ford is one of the highest-grossing actors of all time, having starred in some of the biggest franchises in history and countless other standalone action classics. In his prime he had a very solid sense of what was going to work with audiences and what wasn't, and it's clear from this anecdote that some piece of this was already very active when he was working in a galaxy far, far away for the first time. Ford knew the tone of high adventure Star Wars was trying to set, and that's part of why his performance as Han Solo worked so well.
Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December.