Mark Hamill has been keeping Star Wars spoilers secret ever since the "I am your father" moment in The Empire Strikes Back, but even he has never seen secrecy quite like what director J.J. Abrams is employing for Episode IX.
Hamill is set to reprise his role as Luke Skywalker in some capacity for the next installment in the Star Wars saga, and while he's already done about a week of filming, he still has to go to back for additional work in between shooting his new history series Knightfall. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly from the Knightfall set, Hamill explained that he's still waiting for more Star Wars script rewrites, which will arrive in a somewhat covert form.
“I still have to go over and do [Episode IX],” Hamill said. “Most of the parts I have coming up beside Star Wars are voiceover — there’s one big one, very high-profile, I can’t announce now, that I’m really excited about. You know how it is these days, every time you sign NDAs. I remember back when I read the first Star Wars [script], I was like, ‘Wow, that’s the goofiest thing I’ve ever read.’ I gave it to my best friend to read, and I said, ‘What do you think of it?’ He said, ‘It’s really wild, it’s crazy, can I give it to Meredith?’ ‘Sure, go ahead.’ It went around to all my friends. Of course back then nobody cared. Nowadays it’s like working for some secret deep state government organization, like being in the CIA. They’re going to send rewrites over to Prague on this dark red paper that gives you a headache to read.”
That dark red paper has been used on the new Star Wars trilogy before, and it's there to specifically discourage photocopying any of the pages, because the copies will just turn black rather than yield anything legible. Even with those measures in place, though, Hamill noted there's yet another layer of security applied to the new pages he's expecting. They're going to be hand-delivered and hand-recovered.
“They’re going to fly [the rewrites] over with somebody from the company,” Hamill said. “They’re going to come and give it to me and wait for me to read it before I give it back. So no pressure! You can’t even keep it overnight. But that’s the way it is now.”
Secrecy at this level — including scripts the cast aren't allowed to keep, electronic scripts on locked tablets, and even fake scenes written to keep everyone guessing — is nothing new in the realm of megafranchises and shared universes, but it might hit new levels with Episode IX. The film is expected to wrap up this chapter in the Skywalker saga, bid farewell to Carrie Fisher's General Leia Organa, and possibly be the last time we ever see Luke Skywalker on the big screen. Between this film, Avengers: Endgame, and the final season of Game of Thrones, 2019 might be the most secretive film and television release year we've ever seen.
Star Wars: Episode IX arrives Dec. 20, 2019.