Star Wars legend Mark Hamill had a great time making A New Hope for its 1977 release. He and Harrison Ford weren’t household names yet, they were just a couple of goofballs having fun pretending to be in space. You know who wasn’t having as much fun? Sir Alec Guinness.
Alec Guinness shared his blunt thoughts on the “rubbish” Star Wars script in letters written at the time. Born in 1914, the Obi-Wan Kenobi actor was a veteran Oscar-winning actor before he found himself in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon with young Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker and Harrison Ford’s Han Solo — not that he could remember Ford’s name at the time. You can almost see him thinking “How in heaven’s name did I get here?”
Mark Hamill recalled those days in a new tweet, commenting on a post the official Star Wars account shared to sum up the nine-film Skywalker Saga that’s closing this month with The Rise of Skywalker.
That laugh! Long before he voiced the Joker, Mark Hamill already had an iconic laugh. It’s clear Harrison Ford’s botched takes amused him. Peter Mayhew, not quite in Chewbacca costume, also seemed amused. Alec Guinness just looks like he’s trying to use The Force to find a way out of that cockpit.
We should all call George Lucas “Paul” now. And then maybe Ringo for a while. I wish Alec Guinness were still here to keep everyone’s egos in check. Considering how gruff Harrison Ford can be these days, he might appreciate Sir Alec getting his name wrong in this next letter excerpt, from March 18, 1976:
(In case you’re confused, no he doesn’t mean the Yahoo of today. Yahoo was a play Alec Guinness was in.) The rest of that part of the letter showed him getting names wrong and lamenting how the young cast made him feel so old:
That fascinates me, from the perspective of late 2019. Now Mark Hamill and — especially — Billy Dee Williams are the “old” men of Star Wars: Episode IX. If Harrison Ford’s Han Solo weren’t killed off in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Carrie Fisher had lived to see The Rise of Skywalker as she so should have, then they would be the ones feeling ninety opposite Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac.
I don’t blame Alec Guinness for not seeing the potential of Star Wars at the script stage. Some of the dialogue really is kind of rubbish, but it’s our rubbish, bless it. No one really saw this becoming a phenomenon (besides maybe “Paul” Lucas). And either Guinness’ opinion on Star Wars changed after he saw the finished product or he was just more gentle with his feelings in public, because he later gave an interview about how he felt when he watched the first movie for the first time:
And it’s not like Alec Guinness didn’t have any fun on set himself. Mark Hamill previously shared a story of a time Guinness helped him pull off a great prank on set.