Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our forty-sixth guest was in charge of the most comprehensive and detailed Mark Hamill website on the internet – Sienn.
Lightsabre – Welcome to Lightsabre.
S – Thank you!
Lightsabre – Star Wars has had a profound effect on all of us – it’s why we’re here talking about it, but what was it that started you off on your Star Wars journey?
S – A pure coincidence, actually. I had never heard of the films before when my younger brother brought them home to watch over the weekend. I was hooked immediately. It’s impossible to name just one thing; I love everything about the films. So at the time, in 1996, I was 13; in hindsight, I’m happy that I got to see the original versions first. I don’t particularly mind the Special Editions, but the unaltered movies have a special charm to them. Everything went from there; I watched the films uncountable times and at some point discovered the novels and the comic books.
Lightsabre – You’ve been involved in Star Wars fandom for six years through your work on the various versions of Just the Best. How does it feel to have carved yourself such a prominent niche in the Star Wars fan community?
S – It feels incredible. Naturally, it makes me proud. At the time I started I’d never have dreamt of it becoming so popular. Now that it is it’s like the most satisfying, most fulfilling way of living a fandom, of being a fan, that I can imagine. It tickles me to no end when the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear my name is Mark Hamill. I’ve met so many kindred spirits on the net and built friendships thanks to this website. It’s become a part of my life that I don’t want to miss and I hope I’ll broaden that niche yet a little. 😉
Lightsabre – Which of the six episodes stands out as your favourite?
S – The Empire Strikes Back, definitely. I like that it is darker, more serious and that it gets into characters, into all of them, and shows you sides to them that you hadn’t seen in “A New Hope”. Now that the Prequel trilogy has come out and completed the saga, I love The Empire Strikes Back even more. The moment when Vader reveals to Luke that he is his father and offers him to rule the galaxy by his side is even more pivotal, more decisive knowing Anakin’s story. Both father and son are offered the same opportunity, are confronted with the same choice, and the son chooses right. It is the movie that first illustrates the true purity and the true heroism of Luke Skywalker. He was a hero before, yes; he destroyed the Death Star. But that was a hero in a more physical sense, in a more pragmatic sense. Now his integrity and his goodness are challenged and he stands fast where his father failed. The Empire Strikes Back makes you think and it makes you feel; I love that in films.
Lightsabre – There are many Mark Hamill tribute sites out there, but yours has an air of professionalism that others lack due to your hard research, great design and friendly manner. What do you think sets you apart from other Hamill sites?
S – I believe it is the fact that I focus on Mark and not on Luke Skywalker. Star Wars is just another entry in his filmography as far as Just The Best is concerned. My site is for Mark Hamill and about Mark Hamill and I keep it up to date; I guess that’s the big difference to most other sites out there.
S – One of the strongest Star Wars memories I have is seeing it for the first time on the big screen in 1997, when the A New Hope Special Edition hit the theaters. I had seen it so many times before on video that I knew it by heart and could quote the characters at any given point in time, but all the same, although I knew what would happen, when I sat in the theater I was as excited as though I was seeing it for the first time. To this day I feel the same suspense watching the film as I did the first time around. My feelings and my thoughts are just as intense; it still touches me whenever I watch it and I believe it always will.
Lightsabre – Probably an obvious question, but which of the Star Wars characters is the closest to you?
S – Surprisingly enough, it’s Luke Skywalker. His purity of heart, his courage and his ability to love selflessly and to forgive make him one of the most beautiful characters I’ve ever encountered in book or film. He’s good through and through, although he still has flaws –he’s perfect.
Lightsabre – What would you change about Star Wars if you could go back in time and make alterations?
S – Nothing whatsoever. Of course you always get certain ideas, you always start wondering how the story would have progressed if this or that had gone different – particularly fascinating to me are all the potential directions the throne room scene in Return of the Jedi could have gone. At the end of the day, though, I love these movies just the way they are.
Lightsabre – Despite many non-Star Wars people thinking his career had hit the skids, Mark has had a wide and varied career and is now busier than ever with his directing, producing, acting and voice-over work, to say nothing of his writing. How do you organize yourself to stay abreast of his new projects?
S – I wouldn’t manage without the internet, naturally. Over the years, I learnt which sites to frequent and how to use the many gadgets you find online, like newsletters and news alerts. Now I know where to look, although I keep discovering new ways every day. Much credit goes to the fans, too; I have found a lot of support and help among my fellow Mark and Star Wars fans. Between all that, I believe I manage to be as up to date as I can possibly be as an unofficial fan site.
Lightsabre – Where do you think Lucas will take us next on our trip through the Star Wars galaxy?
S – Good question! Everything I’ve heard to date indicates that he is going to concentrate on the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, on Vader’s early years, and maybe create several new characters whose adventures we will follow. I would love him to return somehow to Luke, Leia and Han, after Return of the Jedi, but I don’t know whether there’s much of a chance for that.
Lightsabre – What do you foresee for yourself and Just the Best in the future?
S – Well, I have plenty of plans. What you see online is only a fraction of the collection I have, in terms of information, pictures, interviews and what not. And Mark’s always undertaking new projects, adding to my to-do-list. I want Just The Best to keep growing and improving and I hope that I will still have enough time to maintain it in the future.
Lightsabre – A quick question about our site, Lightsabre. Any comments?
S – I love it! It’s a pretty unique site in that you have created your very own fan fiction universe. I love fanfiction, I am an avid reader and writer and I admire such creativity. And you have a very impressive section of interviews with Star Wars celebrities, which I haven’t seen in that form anywhere else.
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest on Lightsabre. Just one final question. Luke Skywalker, the Cock-Knocker and Griff from the Big Red One are all standing at the edge of a huge canyon, but there is only one rope to swing across and it won’t hold all their weight. Which one manages to get the rope first?
S – Luke would levitate them all safely to the other side! He can take the rope and keep the other two in suspense with the help of the Force so that the rope carries only his weight.
This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 18th June 2006.