Has Jar Jar Binks found yet another champion in the form of a Jedi?
Well, maybe not so much Jar Jar but Star Wars: The Phantom Menace star Jake Lloyd from who would become his on-screen son, Luke Skywalker’s Mark Hamill.
Fans might like to deride the prequel trilogy, which were released between 1999 and 2005, but Hamill – who is set to continue his reprisal of the Skywalker character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi later this year – told Vulture (courtesy of MovieWeb) people are a little too harsh. Not just to Phantom Menace, but also to the actor who played the future Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker.
“I couldn’t believe some of the things they wrote about the prequels, you know? I mean, really, beyond ‘I didn’t like it, you ruined my childhood.’
“I’m still angry about the way they treated Jake Lloyd. He was only 10 years old, that boy, and he did exactly what George (Lucas) wanted him to do. Believe me, I understand clunky dialogue.”
Lloyd was technically 9 years old when filming was under way, and it seemed instead of Star Wars promising him a bright film future, it halted it right in its tracks. Before The Phantom Menace, Lloyd was picking up a number of roles as a child actor, including a four-episode arc on NBC’s hit series ER in 1996, as well a recurring role on The Pretender.
In fact, Lloyd would do just one more film after The Phantom Menace, and that was Madison in 2005 which bombed with both critics and audiences, despite having a cast around him that including Jim Caviezel, Mary McCormack and Bruce Dern.
Since retiring, the now 27-year-old Lloyd has made news for complications with a mental health condition he experiences, and despite some statements at various conventions he was going to get back into films on the documentary side, has never had any projects materialize.
Hamill himself has struggled a bit with Star Wars superstardom, in trying to shake a character that has become iconic. Like both Harrison Ford and the late Carrie Fisher, Hamill said he seriously considered not returning to the franchise for 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the later films in the new trilogy, but changed his mind when Ford surprised him by deciding to return.
“I knew I couldn’t resist the challenge, but I said, ‘Here’s the thing: If it’s not in solidarity with Harrison and Carrie, that’s my escape route.’ I said he’ll never do it. He’s too rich and too cranky, he’ll never do it. He gets so cranky about Star Wars because he has such a varied resume.
“But once he said in the press that he was doing it, I thought, ‘Well, I just got drafted.’ Because if I said no to this, these people are going to be outside my house like the angry villagers in Frankenstein, with lightsabers instead of torches. I’ll be the most hated man in fandom.”
When he signed on, however, Hamill added he was surprised how small his part would be in the first film.
“I was shocked that I was only in the last minute or so, but it was the best of both worlds, because I could really sort of enjoy it. I was sorry that I didn’t get to reunite with any of the original characters, but I could enjoy all without having the responsibility on my shoulders.
“So if it was horrible and everybody hated it, I could say, ‘See? It’s not my fault.'”
Hamill returns in a bit of a meatier role as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens Dec. 15.
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