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Mark Hamill Remembers Working On Yoda In The Original Trilogy With Frank Oz

Luke and Yoda on Dagobah

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The Star Wars franchise is an absolute behemoth in the entertainment industry, with entire generations of audiences growing up on the galaxy far, far away. George Lucas' original trilogy changed the industry forever, and introduced countless iconic characters that would end up being beloved. This is especially true for Jedi Master Yoda, and Mark Hamill recently shared memories of working with the great Frank Oz in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Frank Oz is known for his legendary puppetry and voice performances, especially the Muppets, The Dark Crystal, and his iconic role as Yoda in the galaxy far, far away. The Jedi Master became one of the most iconic characters in the entire franchise as a result, with Oz becoming one of the many Star Wars actors who are synonymous with their roles. Mark Hamill knows what that experience is like, and opened up about what it was like working with Frank Oz in the original trilogy. He reminisced saying:

There are so many incredible memories. Getting to work with so many creative people was an immense privilege. I will always have a special fondness for Yoda, because it was a character that was a way to speak about spirituality without making everyone uncomfortable talking about religion. The pleasure of having Frank Oz perform Yoda will always be a favorite memory for me, because I had loved the Muppets since I was a little kid. Getting to find out what a genuinely nice and kind person Frank is, beside him being so inventive, was a dream. Since then we have formed a true friendship that has lasted to this day. We have never lost contact since we did the original trilogy and through the sequels.

Warms the heart, this story does. Mark Hamill is open about how much the Star Wars franchise means to him. But on top of his time playing iconic hero Luke Skywalker, Hamill also treasures the interpersonal relationships he formed in the beloved space opera. And it seems he's stayed quite close with Frank Oz in the decades since they first collaborated in Empire Strikes Back.

The Skywalker Saga is currently streaming in its entirety on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up (opens in new tab) for the streaming service.

The original Star Wars trilogy was a game changer for the film world, with George Lucas pushing the boundaries of cinematography and effects. And the folks who made the galaxy far, far away into a reality seemed to understand how significant the moment was on set. In his same conversation with Men's Journal, Hamill went on to explain that dynamic and his deep bond with Frank Oz. In his words,

The last time I went out to dinner, before the pandemic hit, was with Frank and his wife Victoria. But even as amazing as that relationship has been, it is difficult to single out one specific connection that supersedes another. If I had only gotten to work with someone like Sir Alec Guinness, that would be more than enough, but on those films we had the benefit of being surrounded by the best of the best. The spirit on set was just so great, because everyone was so happy to be there. Especially after the franchise started to become established. On the set of the first movie I remember the British crew talking about how the movie was absolute rubbish and that there was no chance that it was going to be successful. They all considered themselves experts in the field of entertainment and once I started to get friendly with them they had no problem telling me their true feelings on how it was surely going to be a failure. But once that first picture came out, everything changed. Following that, every single person on that set was a believer and glad to be there.

Clearly George Lucas assembled the right cast and crew to make his original Star Wars trilogy into a reality. And after making tons of money and becoming a box office sensation, the franchise has since been expanded in a variety of ways. Disney is showing no signs of slowing down, although the OG movies will always be close to the fandom's collective heart.

Mark Hamill also mentions Sir Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope. Guinness was open about his own Star Wars criticisms before his death, but his characterization of Old Ben has its place in film history. Hamill just wishes they got to share even more scenes together.

CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things Star Wars as more details become public. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.