Mark Hamill is amazed to be back in his most famous role as Luke Skywalker alongside his old friends. "I never thought we'd come back," Hamill says of his return to "Star Wars" thirty years after last picking up a lightsaber. "I still can't believe it's happening!"
Hamill played naive farm-hand turned rebel hero and Jedi knight Luke Skywalker in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, starting with "A New Hope" in 1977. "The Empire Strikes Back" followed in 1980. Hamill's last appearance as Skywalker was in "Return of the Jedi" in 1983, but he's playing an older Skywalker in a series of new movies directed by "Star Trek" helmer JJ Abrams, currently being filmed at Pinewood studios in the UK.
The new movies pick up after the end of the original trilogy and continue the story of Skywalker and friends alongside new characters played by Andy Serkis, Daisy Ridley, and other newcomers.
Speaking to the BBC at the premiere of new Marvel sci-fi movie "Guardians of the Galaxy," Hamill said he was "overwhelmed" by the talent of the young actors playing new characters. "We're just there to lend our support," he said, "and grow contractually-obligated beards."
The beard echoes the facial furniture of Luke Skywalker's mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. At 62 years old, Hamill is older now than Alec Guinness was when he played Kenobi in the first "Star Wars."
Hamill is joined by original co-star Harrison Ford, reprising his role as roguish smuggler Han Solo. Ford made headlines when he was crushed by a hydraulic door on set at Pinewood, breaking his ankle. The 70-year-old actor is currently recuperating from the injury. Hamill wasn't on set when Ford broke his ankle, but says, "It'll take more than that to stop Harrison Ford."