By any metric, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker fell short of expectations. The movie underperformed at the box office and earned the worst reviews in the entire saga. It also features Mark Hamill’s final performance as Luke Skywalker. The actor has never been shy about how he feels about the saga. He even opened up about the most notorious Star Wars project ever.
Mark Hamill reflects on the ‘Star Wars’ project he refused to make
In a recent virtual chat with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Hamill opened up about making the Star Wars Holiday Special. The feature-length TV special aired on CBS in November 1978 and has since become easily the most loathed Star Wars film. Right away, Hamill had a bad feeling about this.
“When I read the script, I said ‘I’m not doing this,’” Hamill said. “You’ve got to remember. This was the Christmas of ’78, a year and a half after [Star Wars: A New Hope] came out. When [George Lucas] called me and he said, ‘Well, I heard you don’t want to do it,’ I said, ‘It’s terrible! It’s not Star Wars. It’s like a Bob Hope special.”
George Lucas soon regretted the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ too
In the end, Hamill — along with co-stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, and Anthony Daniels — all participated. But for Hamill, it took a personal request from Star Wars writer-director George Lucas to make the Star Wars Holiday Special happen.
“[George] had to call me and say, ‘Please, do this.’ … He said, ‘Well, we really need to do this for the merchandisers and keep the product alive in people’s minds. Do me a favor,’” Hamill continued. “And, of course, I’d do anything for George.”
Before long though, Lucas — who’s been known to make odd calls — would realize what a mistake the special was. In the decades since, Lucas has repeatedly tried to wipe the Star Wars Holiday Special from existence. The program never reaired and hasn’t received any official release of any kind.
But Mark Hamill has a more positive spin on the notorious 1978 program
Yet, as Lucas has waged war against the special, some fans have come to embrace its weirdness. It has become a bizarre artifact of Star Wars history. And in fact, Disney+ is set to lean into that reputation with the upcoming Lego Star Wars Holiday Special. As for Hamill’s feelings on the 1978 special now, he’s made peace with it in a way Lucas hasn’t.
“[George has] never lived it down. He once said, ‘If I could find every copy of that holiday special, I’d smash them with a hammer,’” Hamill explained. “I said, ‘George, we should own that because it shows that everybody’s fallible. Everybody makes mistakes.’ With Lucas no longer involved with the saga, perhaps Disney’s stance on the special will change things.