The term “family” gets thrown around a lot with regards to the Fast & Furious franchise -- which continues its adventures this weekend when F9 lands in theaters. But the “OG” family of Hollywood blockbuster fandom has been and always will be Star Wars, which has been cultivating generations of fans since the 1970s, and shows zero signs of slowing down. It helps when the leaders of the tribe, especially Mark Hamill, continually go out of their way to forge heartfelt connections with members of the fandom, of all ages and races. This is just the latest example.

In 2017, a young boy named Elijah was struggling with pediatric brain cancer. His parents reached out to Lucasfilm for a birthday video for this dying child, and the boy’s reaction to seeing Mark Hamill in the reel could light up a room. It was captured in a photograph by Elijah’s dad, and shared by Hamill on social media with this touching message.

These are the moments that go on behind the scenes, that aren’t captured by a camera or used as “good publicity,” really because Mark Hamill doesn’t need it. He routinely does these things for Star Wars fans because he understands how important the legacy of the series is to them. It seems like it’s equally important to him.

The words that he uses in his Tweet about young Elijah tell us everything that we need to know about Mark Hamill’s opinion of his status as Luke Skywalker. He calls it “a privilege and a gift,” and defines it as “a responsibility I'll never take lightly.” And he walks that walk. In addition to being a mainstay at countless Star Wars conventions, Hamill stays active with fan requests like this, and goes the extra mile to expand on the love of the franchise in the fanbase.

What’s special for Hamill is that there are always new generations of Star Wars fans being introduced to the films and the world because fresh content keeps hooking them. And sometimes, Hamill is even a major part of the new stories. As when he showed up as Luke Skywalker once again in the finale of The Mandalorian, on Disney+.

The future of Star Wars appears to be on television, with amazing shows like The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, an Obi-Wan series, and Andor expanding on the Star Wars mythology. The movies are in flux. Beyond Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron, there have been teases of directions of where the films can go, but nothing concrete. The one thing we can bank on is Mark Hamill’s dedication to the Star Wars fans, and the love they’ll show back to him, forever.

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