Mark Hamill has had a busy few months. Not only has he been working steadily on Star Wars: Episode VIII, he reprised his voice role as the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke, hit YouTube with some tape of him reading some lines from President Donald Trump's speeches in the Joker's voice, and also taped a new web series, Mark Hamill's Pop Culture Quest.
The web series' theme is definitely something that Hamill can relate to. His iconic status after appearing in one of the most historic films in cinematic history has cemented his status as a pop culture ambassador, and now that Star Wars: Episode VIII is eagerly being anticipated by fans, Hamill is once again finding that the spotlight is on him. It's not just about Star Wars, though; Hamill has also secured himself a place in Batman lore as one of the iterations of the Joker. With his new web series, #PopCultureQuest, Hamill finds himself in every collector's most enviable positions: treasure hunter as he goes to various conventions and companies to explore the iconic things they make.
Hamill also found himself coming full circle as he clapped his hands on his original lightsaber from Return Of The Jedi - a prop that was also used by Sir Alec Guinness in Star Wars.
Hamill noted that he'd always been a fan of pop culture collectibles from the time he was a child reading comics and science fiction fanzines.
"I’m not a poseur," he said. "I was going to these conventions before I ever worked with George Lucas. When I was in college I saw in the college newspaper they were showing silent films like Metropolis and M, films that I’d read a lot about, at the Ambassador Hotel at the [comics] convention, and that started it all up, because I went for the films, and then I started seeing all these comics I had as a kid. And it got me into that whole scene."
Once Hamill became involved with Star Wars, he continued going to conventions, but this time as a celebrity guest. He wasn't alone; another of his co-stars was also a frequent convention guest, and Hamill said that were it not for the new series of Star Wars films, he and Carrie Fisher may not have reconnected much in person.
"Now, there were long gaps where I didn’t see her for years," he reflected. "As I told Billie [Lourd], her daughter, if it weren’t for us going back and doing the new films, I would have been robbed of getting back with her and reestablishing contact. Because, I mean, we’d talk on the phone or my wife would go over and get charity items signed. But as often happens with friends, you must know yourself, “Oh, we’ve got to get together!” You say that and years go by."
He admitted that it was hard to consider Fisher in anything other than the present tense, and that Episode VIII, which she had finished filming prior to her untimely death December 27, 2016, would have an undeserved air of melancholy as a result of her passing.
Hamill noted, via social media, that he was pleased to see that Fisher's spirit lived on at the March on Washington as Leia.
Leia, both as a princess and as a general, was a huge symbol onscreen as a resistance fighter. Carrie Fisher was also a huge supporter of feminism, having noted, for instance, that "even in space, there's a double standard," when Stephen Colbert asked her why she never got to carry a lightsaber, and frequently lamenting that for women over 45, it was extremely challenging to find any sort of career in Hollywood - or, for that matter, in general.
As for Hamill, he seems very happy with life right now. Part-time Jedi, pop culture icon and ambassador, and actor, it would appear that there is very little that would slow the man down.