Mark Hamill was the marquee guest at this year's Salt Lake Comic Con and he packed an entire arena full of fans eager to hear what he had to say.
For the most part, he regaled fans with the same sorts of stories they might hear at any convention, but he offered a few tidbits I'd certainly never heard before and he did drop some tantalizing bits about "Star Wars" and his future as "The Joker" during the panel.
Most of the new bits about "Star Wars" came out of Hamill's discussion of "Batman: The Killing Joke." The star talked about how unsettled and uneasy he was with the final product. He began the story reminding people that it's true that actors just ignore everything on the page but their lines and when he finally say the final film he felt like he must have missed something. It didn't feel like the project he had done months prior.
But he was sent a disc of the film to screen while he was in London shooting the next "Star wars" film. He was hesitant to watch it and the reasons he gave offered more of a window into "Episode VIII" than we've previously had. Part of the hesitancy he had in watching "The Killing Joke" was that he was in the midst of weeks of night shoots. He described night shoots in a colorful manner and explained that his head was in a twilight zone sort of space. When he had an interview to do about "The Killing Joke," he knew he needed to watch it, but he had an intense action FX sequence on the shooting schedule that he couldn't risk a lack of focus on.
There are a number of reasons to see night shoots on a film schedule, chief among them is that we're going to be seeing a lot of scenes that take place at night. Other considerations could be that they were filming in locations where their only access was at night. Or maybe Rian Johnson was just trying to screw with the actors and crew. Anything is possible. But I was most excited by the idea that Mark Hamill is in FX heavy action sequences. Does this mean we're going to be seeing Luke Skywalker cut loose in a way we haven't before?
I think so.
Hamill continued to talk about his unease with how "The Killing Joke" turned out after finally watching it. He seemed truly disturbed by the direction it was taken and has been chiding fans to not let their kids watch it, reminding them that it's rated R for a reason.
Later in the panel, when asked about his Joker voice, he talked about how you had to do it after your voice was warmed or you'd strip your vocal cords like an engine. "In fact, I did a session in London... wait... is that a spoiler?" And then he coyly smiled and proceeded to let the world know he'd be back as the Joker.
He also talked about how the secrecy of these projects, both "Star Wars" and "Batman" and reminded fans that the secrecy wasn't to be annoying, but was to their benefit. "The fun should be in the movie theaters, not the Internet."
He was an entertaining guest and finished his set promising a two-hour panel at an undetermined return to SLCC, sooner rather than later.