Mark Hamill bids emotional farewell to Star Wars saga

Mark Hamill has bid an emotional farewell to the Star Wars saga after 40 years of playing Luke Skywalker.In a heartfelt letter accompanying the release of The Skywalker Saga box set, the actor recalled his audition for George Lucas’ original sci-fi tri…

Mark Hamill has bid an emotional farewell to the Star Wars saga after 40 years of playing Luke Skywalker.

In a heartfelt letter accompanying the release of The Skywalker Saga box set, the actor recalled his audition for George Lucas’ original sci-fi trilogy alongside Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher as he reflected on his role as the Jedi hero.

“What an extraordinary journey it’s been,” Hamill wrote. “Back in 1976 when Carrie, Harrison, and I were testing for our roles in what was then called ‘The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars,’ there’s no way we could have known what an incredibly rich and imaginative set of adventures this obscure little space movie would launch inspiring eight more chapters to tell the entire Skywalker story.”

He continued: “I am deeply thankful for your continued enthusiasm and dedication to George’s faraway galaxy, which will continue to grow with new storytellers building an even bigger galaxy filled with heroes, villains, action, romance, and, of course, the Force. May the Force be with you… always.”

Hamill shared the letter on social media to mark the release of The Skywalker Saga box set, and wrote: “A few thoughts as one era ends and another begins…#StarWars.”

The 68-year-old first played Luke Skywalker in 1977’s A New Hope and the two follow-ups, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He then reprised the role for 2015’s The Force Awakens and made his final appearance in last year’s The Rise of Skywalker.

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Billie Lourd was emotional filming Star Wars scenes for late Carrie Fisher

Billie Lourd endured a full roller coaster of emotions on the set of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after agreeing to stand in for her late mother Carrie Fisher.The actress, famed for her role as Princess Leia, died unexpectedly at the age of 60 in D…

Billie Lourd endured a full roller coaster of emotions on the set of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after agreeing to stand in for her late mother Carrie Fisher.

The actress, famed for her role as Princess Leia, died unexpectedly at the age of 60 in December 2016, but director J.J. Abrams was able to cut together unused footage of Fisher from 2015’s The Force Awakens to resurrect her character for key scenes in the recently released The Rise of Skywalker.

Lourd, who portrays Resistance member Lieutenant Connix in the sci-fi blockbusters, helped Abrams and his team complete the sequences by taking part in the Leia shoots, and she has now admitted it was truly bittersweet to fill in for her mum.

“It’s literally like a gift from her, or her forcing us to make her the star of the movie – probably both!” she laughed in the new behind-the-scenes documentary, The Skywalker Legacy. “Being back has been incredible, painful, surreal – all of the adjectives that you can come up with, probably, I felt.”

Abrams later used Fisher’s earlier film clips to digitally replace the 27-year-old’s face with that of her mother.

Production on The Rise of Skywalker’s Princess Leia scenes was also an emotional experience for leading lady Daisy Ridley, who needed to collect herself after filming.

“The reality of having to do a scene with someone who isn’t actually there was very difficult,” the British actress shared. “I sort of had to walk off and have a moment.”

And Abrams insisted he will forever be grateful to Lourd for giving him her blessing to bring Fisher back from the dead onscreen.

“To know that we were doing this with her at our side, that’s something that I will always be grateful to her for,” the director said.

The Skywalker Legacy, which details how filmmakers incorporated unused Fisher footage into the latest movie, will be released to coincide with the digital launch of The Rise of Skywalker on 17 March.

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Billie Lourd stood in for Carrie Fisher during The Rise of Skywalker flashback scene

Billie Lourd stood in for her late mother Carrie Fisher to shoot an emotional scene as iconic character Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The 27-year-old tragically lost both Carrie and her grandmother Debbie Reynolds over the Christmas…

Billie Lourd stood in for her late mother Carrie Fisher to shoot an emotional scene as iconic character Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The 27-year-old tragically lost both Carrie and her grandmother Debbie Reynolds over the Christmas period in 2016, but was able to honour the memory of her beloved mum while appearing in the movie, in which she portrays Resistance member Lieutenant Connix.

According to visual effects supervisor Patrick Tubach, director J.J. Abrams asked Billie for her help in completing scenes featuring Carrie, which were cut together using footage from previous films, including 2015’s The Force Awakens.

“Billie was playing her mother,” Tubach revealed to Yahoo! “It was a poignant thing, and something that nobody took lightly – that she was willing to stand in for her mom.”

Earlier film footage of Carrie was used to digitally replace her daughter’s face in the additional scenes.

“It was an emotional thing for everybody to see her in that position,” he added. “It felt great for us, too. If you’re going to have someone play (Carrie’s) part, it’s great that it’s (Billie) because there are a lot of similarities between them that we were able to draw from. The real challenge was just making the Leia footage we had to work with fit in that scene.”

Carrie suffered a cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angeles and passed away in hospital days later on 27 December 2016, at the age of 60. Her mother, Debbie, sadly died the following day, aged 84.

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Kelly Marie Tran wanted to explore more of character’s story in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Kelly Marie Tran would have liked to explore more of her character Rose Tico’s storyline in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The actress first appeared as Resistance engineer Rose in 2017’s The Last Jedi, and fans were left outraged when they discove…

Kelly Marie Tran would have liked to explore more of her character Rose Tico’s storyline in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The actress first appeared as Resistance engineer Rose in 2017’s The Last Jedi, and fans were left outraged when they discovered the character had hardly any screen time – only 76 seconds – in The Rise of Skywalker, which has a running time of two hours and 35 minutes.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk before the backlash over her limited appearance, Tran admitted there was much more she would have liked to explore with the character.

“Yeah, I mean, I think that, as with any character that an actor plays there are always things you’re wanting to explore, because humanity is limitless and so a character’s humanity is limitless and there are so many things we’d all want to do as those characters so I would say yes?” she replied. “I don’t think there is a specific answer in exactly what I wanted to do, but I think J.J. (Abrams, director) has done such an incredible job of wrapping up nine films and having all of these different storylines and characters involved.”

Chris Terrio, who co-wrote the script with Abrams, recently addressed the actress’s limited screen time and revealed Rose was slated to appear in more scenes, but there were technical difficulties with the unused footage of the late Carrie Fisher, meaning many of the scenes featuring Rose and General Leia Organa were left on the cutting room floor.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 30-year-old revealed the scenes that involved the actors reacting to pre-recorded footage of Fisher were difficult.

“It’s one thing to sit there, look at that footage and try to react to it, but a lot of the big group scenes felt like they were puzzle pieces if that makes sense,” Tran explained. “We were trying to use specific moments that they already had, so it definitely took more time. I think there were more reshoots on those scenes, specifically, to just try and make sure all of the performances matched up since she wasn’t physically there.”

Tran, who hasn’t directly commented on the backlash, also revealed she was set to appear in more of the Battle of Exegol finale sequence.

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J.J. Abrams stunned by ‘weirdly miraculous’ discovery of unseen Carrie Fisher footage

J.J. Abrams remains stunned by the “weirdly miraculous” discovery of unseen footage featuring Carrie Fisher that enabled her character to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The actress reprised her role as Princess Leia when the sci-fi franchis…

J.J. Abrams remains stunned by the “weirdly miraculous” discovery of unseen footage featuring Carrie Fisher that enabled her character to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The actress reprised her role as Princess Leia when the sci-fi franchise was revived in 2015 with The Force Awakens, which was directed by Abrams, but she passed away before the release of her next outing as Leia in 2017’s The Last Jedi, helmed by Rian Johnson. Abrams, who helmed the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, didn’t want to conclude the trilogy without Leia or digitally recreate her or recast the role, and was saved by the discovery of old footage from The Force Awakens.

And while the decision to include footage of Carrie after her death divided opinion among some fans, the filmmaker remains stunned that the unused takes featured the screen star saying almost exactly what they needed her to say.

“The reality that we had the material that was actually her saying things that we needed her to say was vaguely, weirdly miraculous,” he said during an interview on the Australian TV show The Project.

However, he admitted that if the actress was still around “we would have done a few different things. We would have added some stuff that would have been great.”

He jokingly added: “And she would be here today which would make the day much more fun.”

During the interview, Richard E. Grant, who plays Allegiant General Pryde, revealed his own doubts over using the old footage.

“To kind of exhume that footage from another movie and if it wasn’t good enough for the other movie, why should it be good enough for the end?” he mused. “All those caveats or anxieties I had about it were completely put to rest when I saw how they’d done it. It is seamless.”

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Mark Hamill beat Kurt Russell to Star Wars role thanks to George Lucas’ wife

Mark Hamill has George Lucas’ first wife to thank for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, because she advised the director to cast him.The actor was asked to recount his Star Wars screen test during a recent interview at the 92nd Street Y…

Mark Hamill has George Lucas’ first wife to thank for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, because she advised the director to cast him.

The actor was asked to recount his Star Wars screen test during a recent interview at the 92nd Street Y in New York and confessed he has since found out that he, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were up against another trio, led by Kurt Russell, as Lucas was making his final decision about who to cast in the now-iconic sci-fi fantasy movies.

“There were two sets of Princess, Pirate and Farmboy – Harrison, Carrie and me, and the other group of actors, and when George went to London to start filming he hadn’t yet chosen and Marcia Lucas later told me, ‘I was the one who recommended your group’. So I have to thank Marcia for that,” he explained.

Hamill has since seen the audition tapes that featured as extras on a Star Wars DVD and he’s amazed he got the role of Skywalker.

“I watched William Katt just oozing with charisma, Kurt Russell, Robby Benson was boyish and young; and they all would’ve been perfect for Luke. Kurt Russell was even edging toward Hans Solo, which he could’ve played,” he praised. “I don’t know why they picked me out of everybody else.”

Back in 2017, Russell opened up about missing out on the role of Han Solo.

“I was actually pretty (close), in the final running,” the 68-year-old told USA Today, adding that he was also being considered for a starring role in a Western TV show on U.S. network ABC. “I asked George, ‘Do you think you’re gonna use me?’ He said, ‘I don’t know if I want to put you with him, or those two guys together.’ I got to go to work, so I did the western. Clearly, made the right choice.”

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Daisy Ridley discusses Carrie Fisher’s ‘really sad’ final scenes in The Rise of Skywalker

Daisy Ridley has warned Star Wars fans that Carrie Fisher’s final scenes in The Rise of Skywalker are “really sad”.The 60-year-old actress, who played Princess/General Leia Organa in the sci-fi franchise, passed away unexpectedly in December 2016 after…

Daisy Ridley has warned Star Wars fans that Carrie Fisher’s final scenes in The Rise of Skywalker are “really sad”.

The 60-year-old actress, who played Princess/General Leia Organa in the sci-fi franchise, passed away unexpectedly in December 2016 after suffering a cardiac arrest onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles.

In order for her character to appear in the third and final movie in the current trilogy, director J.J. Abrams was handed the task of using old footage of Carrie from 2015’s The Force Awakens and 2017’s The Last Jedi.

Still mourning the death of her friend and co-star, Daisy then had to reshoot scenes that included old footage of Carrie so that the story could continue, despite the death of the Star Wars icon.

“It was definitely difficult,” the 27-year-old told GQ magazine. “It was emotional doing it, because you’re also weirdly picturing her. You’re not picturing how the scene is going to be.”

“It’s really sad,” Daisy lamented. “And it’s going to be really sad, but also, it’s amazing that they have all this footage that is woven into the story in such a strange way.”

The British star also revealed that she never discussed Carrie’s death with some of her co-stars, including Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker.

“I would never presume. Mark’s known her for 40 years,” Daisy said, becoming emotional as she revealed she had spoken to Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, who plays Lieutenant Connix. “I had a conversation with Billie about it. I just wanted to ask Billie how she was doing.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas from 18 December.

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Carrie Fisher knew J.J. Abrams would direct another Star Wars film

Carrie Fisher predicted J.J. Abrams would direct another Star Wars film before he got the job on The Rise of Skywalker. The actress reprised her role as Princess Leia when the sci-fi franchise was revived in 2015 with The Force Awakens, which was dire…

Carrie Fisher predicted J.J. Abrams would direct another Star Wars film before he got the job on The Rise of Skywalker.

The actress reprised her role as Princess Leia when the sci-fi franchise was revived in 2015 with The Force Awakens, which was directed by Abrams, but she passed away before the release of her next outing as Leia in 2017’s The Last Jedi, helmed by Rian Johnson.

Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was slated to direct the third and final instalment in the new trilogy, but after he departed the project, Abrams was drafted in as his replacement, and it appears Fisher predicted that would happen in her final memoir The Princess Diarist, which was published just weeks before she died in December 2016 at the age of 60.

“I wasn’t supposed to work on this film, and she passed away before The Last Jedi was released,” Abrams said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “She wrote this autobiography The Princess Diarist… She thanks me at the very end and says, ‘Special thanks to J.J. Abrams for putting up with me twice.’ I had never worked with her before Force Awakens and I wasn’t supposed to direct Episode IX. It was a very Carrie thing to write something like that and to somehow know. It was really strange.”

In the interview, the Star Trek director said it would have been “impossible” to conclude the trilogy without Leia and they didn’t want to digitally recreate her or recast the role, so they used old footage from The Force Awakens.

“Every time you’re seeing scenes with Leia and characters, it’s Carrie in this movie, and I still can’t quite believe that she’s gone, because we’ve been working on these scenes in editorial and she’s as there as anyone, it’s really uncanny,” he stated.

The Rise of Skywalker hits cinemas from 18 December.

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Cindy Crawford shares epic celebrity photo from 2003

Cindy Crawford has shared an epic celebrity throwback photo on social media, with the snap featuring the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Gabrielle Union.The supermodel posted the star-studded image on Instagram in honour of the popular hashtag #WCW, whic…

Cindy Crawford has shared an epic celebrity throwback photo on social media, with the snap featuring the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Gabrielle Union.

The supermodel posted the star-studded image on Instagram in honour of the popular hashtag #WCW, which stands for Woman Crush Wednesday.

Actresses Aniston, Union, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Deidre Hall, Allison Janney, Fran Drescher, models Amber Valletta, Rachel Hunter, and TV host Nancy O’Dell all feature in the picture taken in 2003.

And eagle-eyed fans even spotted the late Carrie Fisher and her daughter Billie Lourd in the 16-person photo, which fans of Cindy said was the best celebrity group photo since Ellen DeGeneres’s record-breaking Oscars selfie in 2014.

“That’s a lot of girl power in one photo. #WCW,” the 53-year-old model wrote in the caption.

While followers speculated about the exact event the women were at – with one even suggesting it was Hunter’s wedding to Rod Stewart in 1990 as the model is wearing a white strapless dress – it was, in fact, a charity fashion show which raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, according to editors at People.com.

The women walked the catwalk as attendees placed bids on luxury items including five-star trips to Paris, Greece, and New York.

“OMGGGGGG!! That felt like 5 min ago!!!” Union commented on the snap, while So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley wrote: “Good lord! Now that’s a gang!”

Since the photo was taken, beloved Star Wars icon Fisher has passed away. She died following a stroke in December 2016.

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Carrie Fisher and Billie Lourd will appear together in new Star Wars film

Billie Lourd will appear in scenes with her late mother Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.Director J.J. Abrams has utilised unreleased footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to incorporate the much much-loved actress’ characte…

Billie Lourd will appear in scenes with her late mother Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Director J.J. Abrams has utilised unreleased footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to incorporate the much much-loved actress’ character General Leia Organa into the third movie in the franchise’s sequel saga, following her unexpected death in December 2016.

But while the filmmaker deliberately wrote the screenplay so Lourd, who plays Resistance member Lieutenant Connix in the trilogy, wouldn’t have to star alongside an edited version of her mother, the 26-year-old had other ideas.

“I purposely had written her character in scenes without Carrie, because I just didn’t want it to be uncomfortable for her,” he told Vanity Fair. “(She said), ‘I want to be in scenes with her. I want it for my children when I have kids. I want them to see.'”

And Lourd was understandably emotional while shooting scenes that would later feature her mother.

“She would get emotional and sort of have to excuse herself for a minute. I know it was hard for her for a while,” the director added.

Abrams also addressed the not-so-well-received digital version of a younger Princess Leia, who appeared in the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One, and insisted their technological trickery to bring Fisher to life is down to editing and reshoots.

“It’s not quite a magic trick; it’s sort of more of a trick of editing. There is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know. Classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would,” he explained.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to be released in December.

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