Mark Hamill Didn't Know He Was Auditioning For Star Wars The First Time

Mark Hamill has been the source of many a delightful "Star Wars" anecdote. He's been dropping little tidbits in interviews for years. Like the time Harrison Ford vented anger on his character's beloved starship the Millennium Falcon. But the actor's often hilarious and enlightening tales about working behind the scenes on the saga aren't just relegated to when they were filming it. Hamill has been more than candid about the events leading up to snagging the coveted role of Luke Skywalker (originally "Luke Starkiller" in the script), even giving the internet a reaction video of his audition to play the starry-eyed farmboy from Tatooine.

But that wasn't the first time Hamill opened up about the emotional roller coaster that would be his journey in to score the part. Only a few years before, he went on record to confirm a rather shocking fact about his audition for "Star Wars." Namely that — at first — the actor had no idea what film he was auditioning for, or the part, let alone what joining the cast would do for his career or that he'd be returning to the galaxy far, far away a number of times over the next four decades.

Star Wars or Carrie?

Mark Hamill sat down with Interview Magazine to appease the inner geek in fellow actor and comedian Bill Hader. Turns out the two go back longer than Hamill realized, as Hader had visited his home while working on the "Empire of Dreams" documentary. Hader asked about Hamill's audition for Luke. "Was it true that they were casting for 'Carrie' [1976] at the same time?" Hader asked the actor, which of course launched Hamill into an anecdote of his own:

"Brian De Palma was looking for actors for 'Carrie' and sitting next to him was George Lucas. Since Lucas didn't speak the whole time, I thought he was De Palma's assistant. I didn't know what he looked like! So I did my thing, and a couple of weeks later, I went to my agent, and there were six or seven pages of audition material for me. By the time I got the part, I assumed that Harrison Ford was the lead, because he's a traditional leading man. I thought I was going to be his sidekick, you know, like Captain America and Bucky. Then I opened up the script, and at the time it said: 'The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as Taken From the "Journal of the Whills," Saga I: Star Wars.' I just couldn't believe my eyes. I thought, 'How are they going to do all this?' Robots, the Death Star, all of it — it blew my mind."

Interesting peculiarities

Every actor has their share of casting horror stories. Hamill's might not be the worst of them, but there were a number of interesting peculiarities. There's some serious dramatic irony in how the actor had no clue it was George Lucas — the man who wielded his fate — sitting across from him. But despite not being told anything about the movie or role, Hamill managed to nab the part. Although one can't help but wonder what might've happened had Brian De Palma nabbed the actor for "Carrie" before Lucas could reel him in with the script.

What's doubly ironic is the same reason he thought he'd lost the lead to Harrison Ford is the same reason he got it. Anyone who's seen the audition tape will note just how much Ford exudes the cool air of Han Solo — and that Hamill was just as eager, awkward, and boyishly charming as teenage Luke. Even his reaction to the script mirrors his character's awe over the galaxy that lies beyond his desert planet horizons. If Hamill's mind was blown, then so was Luke's.