mark hamill episode 9

During the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars fans kept an obsessive watch over the status of Mark Hamill and his beard. This wasn’t the first time a passionate fandom followed an actor’s hair for clues about what to expect from their character in the future. During the same period, Game of Thrones aficionados breathlessly watched as Kit Harington’s hair wasn’t shorn, leading everyone to rightfully assume that the seemingly late Jon Snow was making a return. The Mark Hamill Beard Watch wasn’t quite as obsessive as that (mainly because we knew less about the status of Luke Skywalker than Jon Snow), but news of its length and its eventual shaving did make headlines.

And now, once again, Mark Hamill’s beard has been cut and once again it’s generating headlines…mainly because Hamill himself has suggested that the beard will make a return in Star Wars: Episode 9.

This is news because Hamill has recently wrapped Star Wars: Episode 8 and this seemingly implies that Luke Skywalker will survive the events of that film and return for the capper of this new trilogy. Of course, Hamill has a tendency to be a bit of a prankster, so this could all be a bunch of misdirection intended to throw us off the scent of a Han Solo-esque demise in the next movie. Then again, letting Luke continue to draw breath would actually be the surprising thing to do after Harrison Ford was run through with a lightsaber by his own son late in The Force Awakens. Killing a classic Star Wars lead once per movie would just get predictable and depressing.

Anyway, Hamill recorded himself shaving his beard and shared it on Twitter. So here you go. Here are 36 seconds of Star Wars star Mark Hamill shaving.

Of course, the really important part here is the “at least till #EpisodeIX,” but like I said, I’m not prepared to accept this as absolute confirmation of anything quite yet. Anyway, Hamill is also ditching the beard because he’s getting ready to host the new series Pop Culture Quest, and everyone knows that you can’t host a television program and have a beard in 2016! I kid, mainly because Hamill makes that beard look good and I wish he would adopt it permanently and always look like he’s one bad day away from using the Force to throw your car through a building.

Star Wars: Episode 8 is directed by Rian Johnson and will hit theaters on December 15, 2017. Star Wars: Episode 9 will be directed by Jurassic World‘s Colin Trevorrow and will arrive on May 23, 2019. If Hamill isn’t pulling our legs, he’s going to have that beard off and on for quite some time yet.

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