On the first day of the Star Wars Celebration Europe the Celebrity Stage saw the presence of Star Wars most famous actors, among which David Prowse, Warwick Davis or Kenny Baker.
In spite of these celebrities, the man of the night was surely Mark Hamill. His 1-hour session drew the biggest crowd and the longest, monstrous, line of the day which began to form a little over two hours before his session, due to begin at 5.00 pm. It ran all the way along the walls of Halls S1 through S6! Fans were excited but orderly seated on the floor, talking to the guy next in line, or playing around with their latest hi-tech gadget.
The already mounting excitement reached its top when, at the expect time, the crowd began to fill in the theatre’s seats which were completely occupied by the time it all began with a little introductory video clip showing Episode V scenes of Luke Skywalker lightsaber fight with Darth Vader on Cloud City and gags shot with Mark and Warwick.
The stage, until then filled only with an armchair for the show’s host and a sofa for the guests, finally gained a new life when the clip ended and both Warwick Davis and Mark Hamill and their entrance.
Always a fun character, Warwick, who as you all know played the role of Wicket W. Warwick began his introduction telling us how at 11 he first met with Mark on the set of Episode VI. By now everyone knew Mark Hamill should be arriving anytime soon. When he did, under a heavy flashlight barrage and thunderous applause, W. Davis shoots the line “Hey guys, no photos of Mark please! This man is not from this time!” Dressed all in black Mark Hamill turned to the left, center and right of the stage, so that everyone could take a perfect shot at ease. He then sits on the sofa and Warwick greets him, remind him of the first time they ever met. On the video walls, strategically set for everyone's viewing pleasure, a photo from the 1980’s appeared, where we could see, from left to right, Mark Hamill’s son, Warwick Davis and Mark himself a whole lot younger they are now.
W. Davis brings about the 'comic book' theme and Mark's involvement in his Black Pearl project. This was the only non-Star Wars topic of the night. Next, a very funny scene is shown on the screens with the Vader fight with Luke when all of a sudden Luke is pushed out of a window shop and then a very young Warwick Davis appears and admonishes him: “Hey man! Get back inside and fight!”. Luke looks at him, listens and gets back to the fight… (now with actual movie scenes).
Before the third clip begins, the host walks out of the stage… The clip begins with an Ewok outside one of the actor's dressing rooms. We realize the voice-over is Davis's own. The Ewok seems lost and knocks on Harrison's Ford's room. The actor opens the door and sees no one outside, but then looks down and sees a Ewok. This one asks him where the Ewoks are supposed to go to. Harrison doesn't know what to say and directs the little Ewok to the next room next door and ask Mark Hamill for directions, but he also doesn't know. Then they both go to Carrie Fisher's room and that's where they got the proper answer. This was a never before seen (exclusive?) and most funny clip, also from the eighties.
This was the end of the first part of the show and that's when Warwick Davis enters the stage dressed in full Yoda regalia, wielding a lightsaber and saying all those well known Yoda lines from the movies. It quite a performance and everyone at the room enjoyed it and so did Mark seems to.
After this little performance (no pun intended…) it was time for a Q&A session with Mark, for which a line was also formed, but not a very long one at that. He, who up until then had been seating all the time, stands up to give his comments and replies, which he does with an unexceeding enthusiasm.
The first question was if he had read any of the Expanded Universe books, to which he replied 'No'. He said he didn't read them in order to stay clear a little from the character. He told everyone not to feel offended by it, but it was just that it took him so long to detach from the Luke character and it wouldn't become an ever increasing obsession. He said the same was happening with Harrison Ford, to whom a long time also ensued before he could maintain a distance from his Han Solo character.
Then he jokingly asked if it was true that he had died in those stories? As he had gotten the idea that his legacy lasted some 200 years (he was probably referring to the Legacy of the Force series from Dark Horse Comics).
The second question came and it was about but the addresser only made a remark saying that in the Expanded Universe Luke had had a son and that his name was Ben. He reacted so enthusiastically that he didn't give time timed for the guy to actually ask a question. He said he didn't read EU material, but was clearly enjoyed by what he had learned and it was clear that he wanted to know more about his character, even considering the former remarks.
Finally one girl asked him if George Lucas were to invite him to be part of the cast in a tentative "Episode VII" as an older Luke, of course (as he is now). First he recalled a story where George Lucas, during filming of the Original Trilogy, had told him that he was planning a nine episode feature series and that he would like for him to be a part of an Episode VII onwards and he asked when did he figure that would happen? As George replied "Bah… around 2011…". Hamill was stunned and completely speechless, not knowing what to say. The whole theatre were laughing their lungs out by now. "We're in the 1970's [then] and he wants ME to cast on the Episode VII?" Mark said. "I should be over 60 by then, right?" "You should try to add 30 years to your lives now and you will have a glance of what the future might bring you?!"
This was the answer to the girl's question. After almost 45 minutes talking, Warwick Davis and the audience say their goodbyes to the mythical actor who leaves the stage with a thunderous applause.
Exit from the Celebrity Stage and the ExCel was quick and quiet, as no one wanted to miss the next event starring a major Star Wars character: the "Emperor" himself, Ian MacDiarmid, and Stephen J. Sansweet, who were to later introduce the official A New Hope screening on the giant screen set near the waterfront, outside the exhibition centre.