Mark Hamill on Returning to ‘Star Wars’: ‘I Get the Chills’

Like many Luke Skywalker fans, Mark Hamill isn’t a huge fan of the beard he’ll be sporting in the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“That is what I call my contractually obligated beard,” Hamill told Yahoo Movies. “I never got used to it. But face foliage is almost a part of the costume. And it does bring a gravitas, perhaps unearned, but nevertheless, it makes a statement that they wanted to make, and I’m more than happy to oblige them.”

The first teaser trailer for “The Force Awakens” sparked plenty of conversation (and imitation) after rolling out online and in select theaters over Thanksgiving weekend. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas recently admitted that he hadn’t seen the trailer.

Hamill, on the other hand, said he watched the new footage online, and the genre icon seemed enthusiastic about the response: “The great thrill for me was watching the video of fans watching the trailer … I forget how happy this stuff makes a certain segment of our population. I mean, I really was moved to see these people that happy.”

But returning to the galaxy far, far away wasn’t immediately appealing to Hamill. “I said to George, ‘Have you really thought this through? Because maybe it’s not such a great idea,'” he admitted. “But I had a feeling, I said,  ‘You know what – if there’s a weak link, if Carrie [Fisher] or Harrison [Ford] decides they don’t want to do it, there’s an out. Because it’s all or nothing. It should be all of us or none of us.’ So I was ready to go either way. And now that we’re all in, we’ll see what happens.”

While some fans were disappointed not to see Hamill and original trilogy co-stars Fisher and Ford in the “Episode VII” teaser, Hamill wasn’t surprised by their absence. “This is about the new generation of characters; I think that’s the most important thing. It’s the opening act of a whole new approach to the storytelling … When George said that they wanted to do more, I rightly assumed that it wouldn’t be our story, because we had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This must be our offspring and the current generation, with us there lending the kind of support that Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness did in the original.”

Fans of the franchise went into a frenzy when the names of the new characters in “The Force Awakens” were revealed Thursday.

One of the biggest hits of the new footage was BB-8, the rolling droid who seems like a fitting successor to R2-D2. Hamill seemed just as enthusiastic about the character’s debut as “Star Wars” fans online. “It’s not CGI, that’s a live prop — I was just amazed. They let me play around with it. I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood. I’m telling you, it’s an absolute delight. And not having thought that I’d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just — I get the chills. It’s just so much fun.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” bows Dec. 18, 2015.

Read Yahoo’s full interview with Hamill here.

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