Countdown to 'Star Wars'

Mark Hamill shows love to ‘Star Wars’ fans

Actor Mark Hamill poses in character in 1980 as Luke Skywalker in the film "The Empire Strikes Back," part of the "Star Wars" series.
Actor Mark Hamill poses in character in 1980 as Luke Skywalker in the film "The Empire Strikes Back," part of the "Star Wars" series.

As some of the stars of the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came to the stage in the Anaheim Convention Center as part of the presentation of the film at Star Wars Celebration, Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew (the man inside the Chewbacca suit) walked out together.

Both are getting the chance to reprise their roles for the upcoming Christmas release.

When asked about playing Luke Skywalker since he was 26, the 63-year-old actor recalls how George Lucas described the first film to him as the highest budgeted low-budget movie ever made.

“I remember saying to him that I thought it was going to be a winner and out gross ‘Planet of the Apes,’ the Charlton Heston version of ‘Planet of the Apes’,” Hamill says.

He was right. “Star Wars: A New Hope” has taken in almost $800 million at the box office around the world. “The Planet of the Apes” took in a little more than $33 million.

Hamill wasn’t at the convention to brag or talk money.

“I have one just one simple message,” Hamill says. “That’s a simple ‘thank you.’ If it wasn’t for the fans, we wouldn’t be here. It never ceases to amaze me.

“I am so grateful for your support, your enthusiasm and, yes, your passion. All my adult life I have felt such love from you. You are more than just fans. You’re family.”

Rick Bentley: (559) 441-6355, @RickBentley1

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