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So, Luke, tell me about your sister

Mark Hamill answers questions about 'Star Wars' DVD

By Douglas Hyde
Special to

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars."
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Mark Hamill became a star with the original "Star Wars" trilogy -- and he's been inextricably tied to the blockbuster series ever since. He talked with CNN about the new DVD edition and the making of the films.

CNN: Some fans are nostalgic for the films in their original form, others' tastes run toward the modern, fixed-up versions. What's your own personal preference?

MARK HAMILL: Well, it's hard for me because I am a purist. I say I want to see not the colorized version of "King Kong," I want to see the black-and-white one as it was released in the theaters.

But knowing George, though, in "American Graffiti" his character was played by Charlie Martin Smith, who was a mechanic, who loved machines, who loved taking apart engines and cleaning them and putting them back together and souping 'em up and adding exhaust pipes or whatever. That's in his DNA. So it reminds me of someone who owns an elaborate train set and you only see them every six months but everytime you do his train set's slightly changed, there's a new bridge, new tunnels, new billboards and trees. That's just George. ... He will always, I think, want to play with it and make it better.

CNN: I read an interview with ["Star Wars" producer] Gary Kurtz where he revealed "Return of the Jedi" was originally supposed to be darker than it turned out to be. Would you have liked it better if it had been?

HAMILL: I haven't been shy about saying that. When I read the third one I mostly was upset with the cavalier attitude towards Boba Fett -- he had been built up as this monumental bounty hunter and he ... just flies away. I thought that was going to be a major revelation, off comes the helmet, oh my God it's my mother, she's a double agent working for the good guys, who knows.

I mean we had all these nutty sort of [ideas]. We were just like you -- hey George, wouldn't it be great if. ... And I complained.

But I answered my own question because he reminded me the original intent was to do fairy tales for very young children. And he was ignoring the pressure of what happened to the movies by going back. ...

[When Lucas first made "Star Wars," which later became "Episode IV: A New Hope"] he didn't know if he was going to be able to go past Episode Four, so he made the climax the [destruction of the] Death Star. If he had known he was going to be able to make three, he probably would have saved that for the final of the third.

CNN: But of course the big revelation in that movie was that Luke and Leia were brother and sister. Was that something you guys knew from the start of the trilogy [or did Lucas invent it between "Empire" and "Jedi"]?

HAMILL: No, we didn't know. In fact, I tried to get George to admit, I said, come on you made that up on the plane ride over here. He said, no, I had the whole thing written.

CNN: I ask because there's that scene in "The Empire Strikes Back" where Leia gives Luke that lingering kiss on the mouth and when I see it now, I think, "Eeeww!"

HAMILL: Does she really? Oh, that's right, like in the hospital scene.

Well, you see, we are of like mind. Because we felt sort of maybe the same thing, that he had like 90 percent of it and as he tweaked it towards the start date, he came up with embelishments. But he's an enigmatic guy.

CNN: If Lucas ever made a sequel trilogy, would you be interested in being a part of it?

HAMILL: One side of me says, look there was a beginning and an end, I loved every minute of it but it's over. Then you have these fans that say, Luke just becomes a Jedi and that's the climax of the third one. It's like 007 getting his license to kill and then not telling any stories. I said, wow, you have a point. But that's from a fan point of view. From my point of view, it's over.

CNN: Before you go, one last question: what was the funniest thing Harrison Ford did on the set?

HAMILL: Harrison's one of the funniest people. He can make me laugh just like that.

We're standing out there on the barge of Jabba's, ah, you know whatever that floating ship out in the desert in the third one, but he just immediately looks over at me and he throws me this Bing Crosby kind of line, "That was a nice little mess you got me into, Buddy Boy." And I, immediately I'm Bob Hope. We were just, such a thin layer away from being in tears.

We laughed so hard making those movies, it's hard not to. Obviously, I don't want anyone to think we didn't take it seriously and we didn't understand the intent of what you're doing. But at the same time, when you realize that you're a grown-up working with a big giant worm, some monkey people, a couple of, you know, people with bat wings, it's pretty hard to take yourself seriously. And I thought, if the audience has even a miniscule amount of the fun that we've had making these things, it's all good, it's all good.

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