Mark Hamill talks Carrie Fisher and 'The Last Jedi' at SXSW

In a surprise appearance, Hamill joins director Rian Johnson at SXSW in light of the new behind-the-scenes documentary "The Director and the Jedi."

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2 min read

Mark Hamill was yet another surprise guest at SXSW. 

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

For Mark Hamill, returning to the Star Wars franchise was like found money.

"Who knew there was a Jedi pension plan?" he told the audience at the South by Southwest festival Monday in a surprise appearance toward the end of a session with "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson.

The pair discussed "The Director and the Jedi," a behind-the-scenes documentary about the latest installment of Star Wars, with Vanity Fair's Joanna Robinson.

Hamill came out in the last half hour or so of the SXSW session saying, "This is just a cameo at the end, which I'm very good at."

Fairly quickly he talked about Carrie Fisher, who died at the end of 2016, and what it was like hanging out with her again during filming.

"We'd look at each other and say 'can you believe we're back here doing 'Star Wars' again?'" he said. For Fisher, watching herself on screen wasn't easy as she'd taken gaps from acting. She told him, "In my head, I'm still in my 20s."

For his part, Johnson said Fisher never saw the final movie — just scenes while recording additional dialogue. He also said she pitched him lots of one-liners for Leia.

Hamill and Johnson also touched on the controversy surrounding Hamill initially expressing doubts about how Luke was written. The actor reiterated he regrets vocalizing what he was thinking at the time. Prior to Hamill coming out on stage, Johnson talked about the structure of the classic hero's journey in stories like "Beowulf" as how he framed Luke's journey.

"Myths are not made to sell action figures. They're made to reflect the most difficult transitions we go through in life," he said.

Hamill echoed the idea, explaining he came to the realization that Johnson's choices for Luke were ones that were ultimately the best for the continuation of the franchise.

"It has to grow," he said.

As you might expect, Hamill had plenty of jokes, saying he can refer to this latest movie as "The Last Paycheck." He also wants to get more followers on Twitter than Justin Bieber. (Hamil has about 2.6 million and Bieber has about 106 million.)

"I had a wonderful entrance in Episode VII. I had a wonderful exit in Episode VIII. I couldn't ask for anything more," Hamill said. "Except merchandising."

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