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Mark Hamill talks James Gunn barbecue, Star Wars: Episode IX, and his place in the MCU

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Jun 29, 2018, 3:58 PM EDT

Remember that time next-door neighbors Mark Hamill and James Gunn had a barbecue? Remember how the internet went bananas at the possibility that Hamill, a big fan of Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, might have used the occasion to hash out a possible appearance in Guardians 3

Oh, and remember how Luke Skywalker died in The Last Jedi, leaving a big question mark about whether he’ll even appear in any form when J.J. Abrams' Episode IX hits theaters to close out the Star Wars saga that informally bears the Skywalker name?

Well, if Hamill has any secrets about the conversations he’s been having with Gunn, Abrams, or anybody else about his potential future involvement in either Guardians 3 or Star Wars, he’s doing an excellent job of keeping it to himself. Collider cornered the Jedi royalty on the red carpet at this year’s Saturn Awards (check out all our coverage from the event here), and managed to get Hamill to part with a few evasive jokes — but not much else.

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Asked if he and Gunn planned out a role for him in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 at their recent cookout, Hamill said the subject didn’t even come up. “We didn’t talk about the movie,” he said. “We talked about living in Malibu, and our relatives and pets — it never really came up. 

“But that’s the way it should be. I don’t wanna strong-arm him in any way. So I love the movies; they’re fun — but I’m happy to be in the audience. There’s a lot less pressure. That’s why I liked Solo and Rogue One so much — there was 100 percent less Hamill. So I didn’t have any sort of anxiety. I could just be in the audience; it was great!”

That answer — especially that part about being “in the audience" — certainly isn’t about to satisfy fans who want to see Star Wars and Star-Lord have an on-screen get-together of their own. But maybe — just maybe — Hamill would be more forthcoming about what the future holds for him within his own franchise, as Abrams picks up where Rian Johnson’s story left things as development on Episode IX begins. 

Well…not so much. Hamill walked a straight line when asked whether he and Abrams have discussed Luke Skywalker’s role — or lack of one — in the ninth mainline Star Wars film.

“I don’t know,” he said coyly. “I’m the last to know! …I like it that way. I like surprises, so…but when I know something, I’ll let you know.”

If there’s a lesson here, maybe it’s that Mark Hamill’s agent is really proud of him for his grandmastery of nondisclosure…or, at worst, that he’s telling all he knows. Either way, a lot can happen between now and the Dec. 20, 2019 release of Star Wars: Episode IX, as well as the more distant 2020 release of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3. In the meantime, check out our on-scene coverage of this year’s Saturn Awards, while we keep watching the loquacious Hamill’s Twitter feed for any new breadcrumbs that hint at where he might show up next.