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The original 'Star Wars' cast members

George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) filmed "Return of the Jedi" in 1982.  

By Christopher Castellani

(PEOPLE) -- It seems like yesterday that we were reliving fond "Star Wars" memories with the re-release of the original films -- and then again when "Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was unleashed.

But we just can't get enough of Luke, Leia, Darth Vader and, of course, R2 and 3PO.

So as the release of "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" approaches, join us for a look back at the first trilogy (technically the second third of the story, to be exact), and find out what some of the original cast members are doing these days.

Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill was not looking forward to seeing the original "Star Wars" when it was re-released in 1997 for its 20th anniversary. But when he did, the married father of three was struck by "how much heart it has," he told PEOPLE at the time. Maybe that's why it resonates so much with the public year after year.

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Having only appeared in small parts on TV shows such as "The Partridge Family," "The Streets of San Francisco" and "One Day at a Time," Hamill was an unknown when George Lucas picked him to portray the movie's central character. The actor, then 25, couldn't have known what a cult figure he would become.

To minimize that side effect of the series' success, Hamill has steered clear of the sci-fi conventions and doesn't talk much about the movies. "I felt it had a beginning, a middle and an end, and let's go on in life," he told PEOPLE in 1997.

Just before "Star Wars" premiered in 1977, Hamill was in a car accident and needed reconstructive surgery on his face, which left permanent scars, visible in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." Regardless, his face will always represent Luke Skywalker to audiences -- no doubt part of the reason why his film career didn't jump into hyperspace like that of costar Harrison Ford.

But his voice is another story: After appearing in such clunkers as 1978's "Corvette Summer," 1979's "Skatetown U.S.A." and 1981's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," Hamill moved on to cartoon voice-overs, enjoying success in TV shows such as "Scooby-Doo," "The Powerpuff Girls" and various Batman animated series (where he went over to the Dark Side, playing the Joker). In addition, Hamill co-wrote a series of graphic novels (comic books for adults) called "The Black Pearl."

And he isn't above joking about his "Star Wars" fame: Last year he goofed on it by appearing as himself in Kevin Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia

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Some may have found it curious in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Princess Leia kissed Luke Skywalker -- especially after finding out later the two are brother and sister. But unconventional family relationships were nothing new to Carrie Fisher, who went on to bring insight from her complex relationship with mom Debbie Reynolds to her first novel, "Postcards from the Edge."

Though Fisher grew up in the spotlight -- her also-famous father, Eddie Fisher, left Reynolds in 1959 for Elizabeth Taylor -- no one could have predicted the mania that would accompany the release of "Star Wars." Fisher was 20 when the movie hit, and had only appeared on the big screen once before, in a small role in 1975's "Shampoo". Suddenly her face was on lunch boxes, her likeness immortalized in action figures. "There's no preparing for that," she told PEOPLE in 2001. "It made some of my life seem silly -- all the toys and Leia stuff."

Her success brought Fisher into a wild crowd of successful performers, including the likes of "Saturday Night Live"'s John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, whom Fisher dated. But Fisher started on a downward spiral when, suffering depression, she began taking the prescription painkiller Percodan, which led to other drugs. She eventually landed in the hospital. "I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple -- just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully," Fisher told ABC News in December 2000. "And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive."

Fisher began writing seriously when she went off drugs, and "Postcards" was published in 1987. She wrote the screenplay for the movie version, which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, and then followed with two more books, 1990's "Surrender the Pink" and 1994's "Delusions of Grandma." "I never wanted to be an actor," she told PEOPLE in 2001. "I don't like my looks. I was always more a personality. Writing fit more into who I thought I was."

Still, Fisher -- who was married briefly to singer Paul Simon in 1983 and has a 9-year-old daughter, Billie, from ex-lover Bryan Lourd -- has remained active in front of as well as behind the cameras. Along with appearing in such films as 1986's "Hannah and Her Sisters" and 1989's "When Harry Met Sally," Fisher also worked as a "script doctor," polishing comedies "Sister Act" and "The Wedding Singer," and penned one-liners for several Academy Award ceremonies. She now hosts "Conversations from the Edge," an interview show on the Oxygen cable channel.

Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian

Gen. Lando Calrissian, the character Billy Dee Williams played in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," turned Han Solo (Harrison Ford) over to a bounty hunter in the first "Star Wars" sequel, which didn't win Williams any points with his daughter's friends. "The kids at my daughter Hanako's elementary school used to come up to me and say, 'You betrayed Han Solo!'" he recalled to PEOPLE in 1997.

Billy Dee Williams  

Since those heady "Star Wars" days, Williams' professional life has seen its share of ups and downs. He played district attorney Harvey Dent in 1989's "Batman," but wasn't asked to reprise the role in the movie's second sequel, 1995's "Batman Forever" (the character didn't figure into "Batman Returns," "Batman"'s 1992 sequel), when it became much more prominent. "The (producers) never really told me that I wasn't going to get it," he told Entertainment Weekly in 1997. "I later found out when what's-his-name (Tommy Lee Jones) got the part."

He has worked consistently as an actor -- though along with smaller roles on acclaimed TV series such as "Gideon's Crossing," he has done quite a bit of straight-to-video clunkers as well, such as 1996's "Steel Sharks." Then there were the malt liquor commercials, which to many caused Williams to be associated forever with the tag lines: "Colt 45, works every time" and "Don't let the smooth taste fool you."

On another front, Williams has enjoyed great success as an artist. He was studying art when he began acting (his earlier roles included working opposite Diana Ross in 1972's "Lady Sings the Blues" and 1975's "Mahogany" and opposite Richard Pryor in 1976's "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings"), and he has done some high-profile projects as a painter, including creating paintings for Nissan for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and for Disney for the Anaheim, California, Mighty Ducks arena.

Through it all, thrice-married Williams has embraced the "Star Wars" fandom and gladly signs memorabilia. "I love every single moment of it," he told PEOPLE in 1997. "I'll have an audience for the rest of my life."

Read where other original "Star Wars" cast members are now: Anthony Daniels | Kenny Baker | Dave Prowse | Peter Mayhew | Warwick Davis

For more Where Are They Now? stories, visit PEOPLE.COM




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