Mark Hamill Noticed A Mood Change From The Original Star Wars To The Empire Strikes Back

It's pretty safe to say that the first "Star Wars" film, retroactively titled "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope," changed the cinema landscape. The epic tale of the Skywalkers has continued through books, video games, TV series, and, obviously, many films. Still, before the first one came out, the idea of a space adventure like this wasn't something you'd hear about as the next big thing at Hollywood parties and studio meetings. 

For the actors, that meant the expectations weren't high the way they are, say, for an upcoming Marvel film, with people digging through every available resource to find out the plot. For Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, that meant a change in the mood on set when he came back for the second film, "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back," according to an interview he did with for the film's 40th-anniversary. 

"A New Hope" featured a very young Luke who had never been off his home planet (at least he thought so) of Tatooine. He lived with his aunt and uncle, dreamed of adventure, and had concerns like getting power converters and targeting womp rats with his T-16. Hamill says of the beginning, "You know, I get mocked a lot for, 'But I was going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters,' but I did that intentionally to be able to grow and make him as much of a clueless teenager as possible because by the end of the film he has found his purpose in life, and he's so profoundly changed."

As someone who is inordinately fond of that line, it never struck me as whiny as some people would say. He's a kid who knows only his world ... until things change. Change they certainly did — both on screen and off — once the film hit theaters.

'On the first one, nobody knew about us or cared'

"Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" (which was just called "Star Wars" back then) came out in 1977 and started a franchise that is still going strong almost half a century later. That meant that things felt very different on the set of the hugely anticipated sequel. Not only that, but Mark Hamill's wife Marilou was pregnant with their first child, Nathan, while he shot the second film. 

With the first film a hit, everyone wanted to know what was coming next in the adventures of Luke, Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Things had to change in terms of secrecy for "The Empire Strikes Back." Hamill tells the site that it felt different with the cast and crew because "on the first one nobody knew about us or cared." He spoke about actually showing the script for the first film to friends, something that would be unimaginable now. Hamill continued:

"I mean, I remember passing the script around to my friends saying, 'Hey, you gotta read this. It's the craziest thing I've ever been involved in.' There was no social media. There was no security. There wasn't any focus on this unknown science fantasy film, but everything changed after that. So on Empire, suddenly ... we had to be really careful."

Just compare that to the uproar when third trilogy-star John Boyega accidentally left his script for "Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker" in his house when he moved, and it was put up on eBay. In a way, it's kind of lovely to look back at the world before the franchise exploded and imagine looking at that very first script. 

All of the "Star Wars" films are currently streaming on Disney+.