He may be one of the pivotal figures in the 40 years and nine films of the Star Wars saga, but Mark Hamill is almost unique among the cast in that he never appeared in any other major movie roles. While Harrison Ford went on to Indiana Jones fame and the legendary Blade Runner movies, and Carrie Fisher appeared in everything from When Harry Met Sally to Maps to the Stars, Hamill appeared to disappear. Or at least his face did. In fact, Hamill went on to become one of the industry’s most prolific voice actors, featuring in endless iconic cartoons from the Powerpuff Girls to Spider-Man.
The Voice of Evil
In direct contrast to his heroic character in Star Wars, Hamill has tended to go for the Dark Side when it comes to his voice-over work. Check out his IMDb listing, and you’ll find that the voice of Luke Skywalker has entertained you for decades. As comic book superheroes have spread from the printed page to both the big screen and small screen cartoon series, as well as superhero slots and video games, Hamill has taken on the role of all kinds of iconic baddies. Perhaps his best-known role is as Batman’s nemesis, The Joker, who Hamill has played for over a quarter of a century. He has also played many other villains, including the Hobgoblin fighting Spider-Man, Evil Cat in the Powerpuff Girls and the mighty Firelord Ozai in The Last Airbender.
Hamill has even taken on the Dark Side in his own franchise, playing the evil Darth Bane in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Perhaps he was on the wrong side all along because he picked up his first-ever Emmy nomination for his work in the role.
A Live-Action Voice
Hamill’s latest voice-over role has caused a real stir in the industry, as he takes on a live-action part — or at least uses his voice to bring to life a doll in a live-action movie. To the surprise and delight of the WonderCon audience in Anaheim, Hamill appeared on a recorded message to announce his new part. “If you’re wondering who’s going to voice Chucky in the new Child’s Play, you’re looking at him!” he said with a delicious grin, confirming that he will voice the creepy doll in the reboot of the 1988 movie.
It could be a long-standing part for the former Jedi master given that the original spawned no less than six sequels. Hamill replaces Brad Dourif, who has voiced the possessed doll in all seven movies of the franchise so far. The film, directed by Lars Klevberg, will also star Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza.
“I can’t wait to bring such an iconic character to life and present him in a way you’ve never seen him before,” continued Hamill, drawing huge cheers from the WonderCon crowds. Producer David Katzenberg was equally enthusiastic, describing Hamill as “a gifted actor and celebrated vocal performer” who approached the role with “incredible energy and commitment.”
A Fantastic Ride
The film will be out in cinemas on June 21st, a few months ahead of the final part of the Star Wars saga, which lands in December. Despite his apparent disappearing act in Episode Eight, Hamill’s name still appears on the cast list for the concluding installment of the vast space odyssey, leaving fans wondering when and how he might round off his role that began such a “long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
Receiving his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March last year, Hamill took a moment to reflect on his career, both on-screen and on the microphone. “You are with me through thick and thin, and the highs and the lows, and everywhere in between. If it weren’t for the public, I’d be nowhere,” he told thousands of fans who turned out for the tribute. “From Jedi to Joker and back again, it’s been a fantastic ride. Thank you so much and may the Force be with each and every one of you.” Let’s hope that the Force is with the cast of Child’s Play who have to take on Hamill’s evil Chucky come June 21st.