After confessing that the most exciting part of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer was getting to watch fans enjoy it, Mark Hamill proved he’s not just paying lip service to the hordes of dedicated fans out there. The actor made a surprise visit to the star-studded live reading of “The Empire Strikes Back” at the Ace Theater in Los Angeles Thursday.
The actor who played Luke Skywalker lent his professional voice acting skills to the characters of Emperor Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi. He joined an already stacked deck of performers participating in the cold script reading, included J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader, Jessica Alba as Princess Leia, Rainn Wilson as Chewbacca, Aaron Paul as Skywalker, Ellen Page as Han Solo, Stephen Merchant as C-3PO and Kevin Pollak as Yoda.
The reading was part of a series of live readings hosted by “Up in the Air” and “Juno” director Jason Reitman and Film Independent. Previously they have staged events such as readings of “Reservoir Dogs” with all black actors and an all-female version of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” according to the A.V. Club. With all the news surrounding J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Wars” movie, the popular franchise is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, making this the perfect time to revisit the 1980 classic.
Many may be wondering what the appeal of a live script reading may be. It probably sounds like just watching the movie without any of the special effects or costume design that make movies such a spectacle. However, the true draw for fans is the often not-so-subtle differences between the script and the final product. For example, in the “Empire Strikes Back” script, Yoda was referred to as a blue elf-like creature rather than the tiny green sage fans know and love. In addition, the performers weren’t bound by any logic and could thus take certain liberties. For example, Stephen Merchant playing a foul-mouthed C-3PO or Aaron Paul playing Luke Skywalker as his “Breaking Bad” character Jesse Pinkman.
According to The Wrap, Hamill received the thunderous applause and elation one would expect from a packed house of “Star Wars” fans, many of whom showed up to the event in costume. However, when the voice actor broke out his spot on impression of his two characters, the audience had even more trouble containing themselves.
Hamill will reprise his role as Luke Skywalker once again in “The Force Awakens,” scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2015. In the meantime, fans can watch the trailer below.