Forceback Friday: Mark Hamill predicted Episode VII on Late Night in 1983
When Disney and Lucasfilm announced they were making Star Wars Episode VII, it came as a surprise to most people — but it shouldn't have come as a surprise to Mark Hamill.
That's because Hamill had already predicted that the film would be made, almost to the exact year, back on Late Night with David Letterman in 1983.
Hamill appeared on the June 20 episode to promote the Broadway run of Amadeus, in which he played Mozart.
When Letterman asked him what he'd be working on next, talk naturally turned to Star Wars (Return of the Jedi had been released a month earlier) — but Hamill already knew it would be a long time before Lucasfilm would call on him to wield a lightsaber again.
"George is very, very tired," Hamill said. "He’s spoken sort of obliquely about a third trilogy, which won’t be until 2011. As proud as I am to have a job at the turn of the century, I mean, I can’t really relate to it."
Hamill ended up being slightly off on the timing — Episode VII was actually announced in 2012 — but still, that's quite the Force vision from the young Jedi master.
NBC has largely kept the vault of Letterman's old Late Night clips shut since he left for CBS in 1993, but YouTuber Don Giller has been doing the Lord's work and putting a number of them online — including Hamill's appearance.
Giller's upload also includes an appearance by Carrie Fisher on the May 20, 1983 episode of Late Night.
Fisher says she can't see herself doing another Star Wars sequel — can you imagine, she asks Letterman, "Han and I choosing what planet to live on and having a child" — and reveals the prequels have been put on the backburner because "Mr Lucas is very tired".
(If there's a running theme to these interviews from 1983, it's that George Lucas was very tired — and really, after the decade he'd just had, can you blame him?)
For Mark Hamill, appearing on Late Night was actually a really big deal, even at this relatively early stage of Letterman's career.
Hamill is a major comedy fan, and he was particularly obsessive about Letterman — according to this great interview with Brian Abrams, he kept a journal of what happened in every episode, and would record all of them as they aired in order to make his own compilation tapes of his favourite bits.
Hamill's obsession lasted from the early '80s, when he first saw Letterman hosting morning television, through to 2003, when he eventually kicked the habit and stopped watching talk shows altogether in order to spend more time on his own projects.
But somewhere in his basement, he still has all his Letterman tapes — and who knows? He might get around to uploading them to YouTube one day...