Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spotlight on Mark Hamill at New York Comic Con

Yes, that's Mark Hamill, on the right. (Sorry, I was sitting far away!)
On Friday evening at New York Comic Con, actor Mark Hamill, or as many of his fans know him, "Luke Skywalker," led a panel discussion to a packed room at the NYCC MTV Theater. The panel, "Mark Hamill Spotlight," was set to focus on Hamill's pursuits beyond that galaxy far, far away, such as voicing "The Joker" in Warner Brothers' forthcoming video game, Batman: Arkham City (which hits U.S. stores on Tuesday). Hamill impressed with quite the evil laugh and explained how he felt anxious to follow in the shadow of actor Jack Nicholson, who had been the most well-known "Joker" actor at the time Hamill began voicing the character.

Of course, Hamill will never be able to get away from the iconic Skywalker character, but he doesn't seem to want to. He opened the panel by discussing "Star Wars" and noting how he himself was an avid comic book fan who attended comic conventions in the 1970s, before he ever found his claim to fame in George Lucas' trilogy (er, hexology?). Nevertheless, he still could not out-nerd his own fans at NYCC. When unable to precisely name certain creatures from the movies, Hamill explained that his son enjoys quizzing him with "Star Wars" trivia, which he ritually "flunks."

One of the most interesting tidbits was Hamill's reaction to learning that "Darth Vader" was "Luke's" father. He described how the original script for "The Empire Strikes Back" directed "Vader" to tell "Luke," "Obi-Wan killed your father," and what a shock it was to later learn that the line was dubbed to substitute that great revelation, a phrase that may be one of the most mimicked movie-lines of all time, "[Luke], I am your father." Even the actors were kept in the Dark! (pun intended...).

Hamill also discussed "The Black Pearl," a comic miniseries he created, which he hopes to adapt to film. The protagonist of "The Black Pearl" is a vigilante crime-fighter. However, Hamill emphasized that he is not seeking to create another "Kick-Ass," or similar tale that focuses on "real" masked avengers but steps far outside the realm of what is actually possible in the real world. Hamill hopes to change the public's perception of what it takes to be a vigilante. He even referenced Seattle's own "superhero," a man who goes by the name of "Phoenix Jones" and was recently in the news for essentially botching an attempted "rescue" and getting himself arrested for assault. It will be very interesting to see what comes of the planned "Black Pearl" adaptation.

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