|THE RISE OF SKYWALKERRISE OF SKYWALKERMARK HAMILLSKYWALKERSTAR WARS|
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
Mark Hamill says one of his 2020 goals is to meet Natalie Portman. The two Star Wars actors have never met each other, which is rather surprising. Portman famously first played Luke Skywalker's mother Padme Amidala in 1999's The Phantom Menace. In 2018, Hamill revealed that he had never met Portman, which was brought up by Stephen Colbert when he was interviewing the actress around the same time. Portman also admitted that they had not met, but that she would 'love' to meet him.
A Star Wars fan brought up Natalie Portman's 2018 comments to Mark Hamill on social media over the weekend and asked if they had been able to meet yet. Hamill, said 'Not yet, but it's very high on my 2020 To-Do List.' While it would be nice to see the two actors meetup, it will more than likely be in the future since everybody is practicing social distancing. Everybody, including Hamill and Portman are staying inside their homes and away from the outside world.
Hopefully 2020 will be able to turn around and allow Mark Hamill and Natalie Portman to meet up. Portman was able to briefly meet her Star Wars daughter, Carrie Fisher, before she passed away. Fans were hoping that Portman was going to show up in the sequel trilogy, but that was not to be. Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen provided his voice for The Rise of Skywalker, which raised excitement. Christensen had been rumored to be a part of the sequel trilogy for just as long as Portman was.
The Skywalker Saga Blu-ray boxed set was recently released and it features a Farwell letter from Mark Hamill. The Luke Skywalker actor posted his note to fans on social media, which served as a heartfelt goodbye to the Star Wars franchise. He indicated that everybody in the movies and the fans have become a large family over the past 40+ years, which is pretty much true, even though it gets to be a bit dysfunctional at times. The letter from Hamill got a lot of attention from fans and made people realize how much they love the franchise. Now is a perfect time to go back and watch all of the movies from all three trilogies since we have so much free time on our hands now.
For now, Mark Hamill and Natalie Portman might have to meet via Zoom or facetime since we're not really allowed to leave the house unless it's to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. As for where the Star Wars franchise goes next, that is a mystery on the big screen. For now, the next movie is still on schedule to be released in December 2022. As for the small screen, we'll hopefully see The Mandalorian season 2 in October, with the Rogue One prequel and Obi-Wan Kenobi shows in current development. You can check out Mark Hamill's Twitter response below.
Not yet, but it's very high on my 2020 To-Do List.#MeetingMyMovieMamahttps://t.co/d0tCwE3y8i— Mark Hamill @HamillHimself April 6, 2020