It is easy to see Mark Hamill in a movie or TV show and immediately say or think, “Luke Skywalker.” Honestly, how could you not? Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope bowed in 1977 and he recently reprised that role (sorry for the spoiler!) in The Mandolorian. It is a testament to the longevity of that character that he probably could’ve worked his whole life off of Luke Skywalker alone. Yet, Hamill didn’t did do that. Nor did he sit around bemoaning the fact that he didn’t have a career similar to that of Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford. What Hamill did do was work… a lot.
With over 350 roles to his credit (and there’s probably more) this unique, do everything actor, has worked both in front of and behind the camera. In the process, he has lent his talents to some of the most well known movies and TV shows across the past 5 decades! Yet, despite taking a myriad of a roles in many different genres, Mark Hamill is literally synonymous with Luke Skywalker. However, prepare to have your wig flipped as we give you “Insane Mark Hamill Roles that Aren’t Luke Skywalker.”
John Carpenter’s Body Bags
This 1993 offering from horror legends John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper sees Hamill in the role of Brent Matthews. He’s a baseball player who is involved in a serious car accident that takes his eyes. Matthews doesn’t want his baseball career to be over which is why he submits himself to an “eye transplant” procedure. The only problem is that the eye comes from a serial killer! As you can guess this changes Matthews and Hamill does a very solid job of putting across his psychosis. What unfolds is your classic “eye for an eye” story that somewhat recalls Roger Corman’s X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes. Body Bags is a hidden gem from the early 90s and, if you’ve never screened it, it should certainly cast Mark Hamill in a different light.
What We Do In The Shadows
As Jim the Vampire in this comedy/horror/sitcom from FX (how else would you describe this show?), Mark Hamill plays a long-time nemesis to Matt Berry’s Laszlo Cravensworth. Honestly, when you need a vampire to play a foil in a show about the lives of vampires living on Staten Island, who better to embody that role than Mark Hamill? As Jim he is certainly in on the joke and seeing Hamill play this character is nothing short of interesting and extremely entertaining. For an actor that could’ve gone on and been a leading man, Hamill seems to be really enjoying where his different and ubiquitous career has landed him.
If you’re going to not use the original Chucky voice talents of Brad Dourif, who better to voice the killer doll in 2019 than Mark Hamill? Honestly, Hamill does a fantastic job of imbuing this iconic character with new life. As an icon playing an icon, Hamill (and the entire cast) seem to be in on the joke but none of the proceedings come off as melodramatic or campy. Rather, Hamill taps into the sinister nature that Dourif so successful mined to make this killer doll his own. So solid is Hamill in this voice role, that one doesn’t even feel the need to pit him against Dourif with a comparison. Hamill brings his unique gifts and stands out in a film that is much more than a mere reboot.
As James Jesse aka The Trickster, Hamill seems to be loving every minute of trying to have The Flash (Grant Gustin ) killed. If you like your psychopaths with a wink and smile, but also a penchant for being truly psychotic, look no further than Hamill’s nuanced performance as James Jesse here. He is totally off his rocker as he pulls off terrorist attacks at will and strives to kill The Flash at every turn. Hamill leans in heavily to the crazy and seems to, once again, have lost himself in this iconic character. As this is a superhero film, we know he’s never going to really kill The Flash. This doesn’t mean that he’s not going to do everything in his power to destroy his most central of enemies.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
In this brief but memorable role in 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, Mark Hamill is solid as Professor James Arnold. The plot of this film is one of super spies enlisting a new recruit as they try and foil a tech wizard, who plans to use Global Warming to eradicate a majority of the world’s population. Hamill’s character is important to the proceedings but he dies a quick death when a chip inside his body explodes and kills him. This is a different, more restrained Mark Hamill, and actually recalls some of the work he did in that “Galaxy far, far away.” While his time on screen is brief, there is something to be said for how Hamill literally sinks into this character. His performance is so subtle that casual fans may not even notice it’s him on the first go round.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
How cool is it that the Star Wars universe is so vast that someone who has been in 6 of the movies can now voice a wholly different role. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a much lauded, animated series that features other cool “universe related” turns like Anthony Daniels voicing C-3PO just as he did in the other Star Wars films. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars we get to see see the Jedi Knights lead a battle against a mega army of droids. This show takes place during the interval between Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and Hamill is quite sinister voicing Sith Lord Darth Bane. As a very nuanced character, we see that Darth Bane is focused on both strengthening the Sith at all costs and defeating the Jedi Order. Filled with terrific moments, Hamill shows an uncanny ability to make this character come alive with a true amount of inner knowledge that he’s gained from his closeness to this franchise.
Set around a huge metal band called Dethklok, we see how they deal with fame, fortune, and a government organization that hopes to wipe them off the face of the earth. Hamill plays the role of Senator Stampinston. He briefs The Tribunal which is the government group that is out to rid the world of Dethklok. Stampstington presents the facts to this nefarious, government group, and also offers up multiple ways to take them down. The role is very deadpan with the Senator looking a lot more angry than he really is about Dethklok. This role is nothing short of interesting, and while Hamill might not be one of the main stars here, he always manages to put his own “stamp” on anything the Senator says or does. A truly original show and Hamill seems perfectly suited to reside in this world.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
Again, Hamill is not a star on this show (his 2012 role, however, is more of a guest star), but that’s what makes his turn as Crybaby Clown and a Drill Sergeant that much more impressive. Everybody knows the story of Scooby Doo. Fred (Frank Welker), Velma (Mindy Cohn), Daphne (Grey Griffin), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby do everything in their power to solve various mysteries in around Crystal Cove. They are joined by the voice talents of Hamill, Gary Cole, Lewis Black, and Vivica A. Fox just to name a few. Like in Metalocalypse, Hamill does impressive if somewhat under the radar work here. However, it’s his ability to be a team player in this way that really helps Scooby-Doo! Monsters Incorporated shine, and, at the same time, allows what Hamill brings to the table to stand out.
This semi-prophetic 1993 fable sees Hamill playing the role Michael Raynor. He’s a man from 2022 trying to stop an alien attack before it happens in 1992. The only problem is that there is an agency within the government that wants nothing more than to see Raynor dead. What ensues is a futuristic (for the time it came out), time bending film that sees Mark Hamill in what might be his closest role to Luke Skywalker. Time Runner is a film of big ideas. It imagines time portals, the future effected by the past, and all the general tropes we are used to from movies in the time travel genre. Hamill also has some solid scenes with Rae Dawn Chong. She plays a scientist trying to help him spread the word about the threat of alien attack.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Okay, given the unabashed fanboy-ness of director Kevin Smith, how could Mark Hamill not have been in this? This film sees Jay and Silent Bob traveling to Hollywood to ruin a movie that is based on a comic about them. With turns from the likes of Ben Affleck, Eliza Dushku, Will Ferrell and Judd Nelson (among others), Mark Hamill fits right in as the character of Cocknocker. He is a villain of sorts that battles Jay and Silent Bob in a movie that lampoons all things sci-if (including the holy grail of Star Wars). The best part of all this is that Hamill is not only in the on the joke, the movie is too, and when he references the “Jedi masters” it all makes sense in this crazy, hodgepodge of a movie. Bravo to Mark Hamill for being able to laugh at himself!
Hamill actually plays multiple roles here in this groundbreaking, stop motion animation show. Some of those roles are Chucky (which might’ve been a harbinger of things to come for the actor), Howard Cunningham from Happy Days, and Iron Man! Now, some of you are going to balk at the mention of Robot Chicken being on this list. Why? Because he does do the voice of Luke Skywalker in some episodes. However, if you know anything about Robot Chicken then you understand that the obliterated minds behind this show were clearly “sending up” that character. While not the focal point of the entire show that’s been running since 2005, Hamill certainly belongs here and when you look at his entire body of work that becomes even more apparent.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series
This well done show ran from 1994-1998 and Hamill used his voice talents to play the role of Hobgoblin (among others). This robust character is vividly brought to life by Hamill’s distinct vocal stylings. Related through story to the Green Goblin, the Hobgoblin has his sights set on upending anything Spider-Man (Christopher Daniel-Barnes) is trying to do. Since he shares the dual identity of Jason Macendale, the Hobgoblin comes equipped with CIA training (Translation? The Hobgoblin can do some damage). This is a very layered/nuanced voice role for Hamill to embody. Hobgoblin is an interesting character because he truly is without conscience. He is a mix of tech and actual wizardry. This further adds nuance to this character and is ultimately another in a very long list of baddies that Hamill makes his own.
Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Superman: The Animated Series
How great is it that in each one of these shows Mark Hamill plays The Joker! Okay, it might be easy to look at what Hamill has done here as merely a voice role and not on par with what Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger or Joaquin Phoenix did. Well, you would be extremely mistaken because the character of The Joker, while not having a story arc that runs across the different shows, is actually well defined and correlates to each. So while the other actors played this world renowned bad guy in one film, Hamill essentially started playing The Joker and has NEVER stopped. The consistency that Hamill brings to this role is further bolstered by the style of animation. It is retro in some respects but also very much on par with the time of its creation. Hamill, again, appears to be truly enjoying giving this devious being life and it shows in every frame that he steals.
Village of the Damned
This is a more subdued role for Hamill and the fact that it comes in another John Carpenter film makes it feel even more creepy. The story of Village of the Damned is one in which the the town is filled with women who are mysteriously pregnant. Through a deal with the government the babies are kept for research as nobody can understand how so many were conceived. Well, babies grow up and as these do they start to show signs of evil that can longer be ignored. In the proceedings, Hamill plays Reverend George. This role sees him set his sights on killing some of the children. Without giving too much away, just know that it doesn’t go well for his character. While this role is clearly of the supporting variety, it is quite interesting to see Hamill playing such a character. The fact that Disney would later buy Star Wars (a company not known for killing children), only heightens the oddness around this well played part.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Another casualty of Netflix, this one season epic was sadly not given enough time to grow. Hamill, in the role of SkekTek, voices a scientific mastermind who worked for the evil Skeksis. The whole thrust of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has to do with a race known as the Gelflings who seek to overthrow the oppressive Skeksis Empire. That Hamill plays the mad scientist, who is in charge of keeping the Skeksis power structure in place, only further bolsters both this show and Hamill’s performance. In so many ways throughout his career he has played against type. So often it would’ve been easier to simply retreat into roles that are more familiar. Hamill has legitimately played against what is expected in a way that makes his career choices (and by proxy a role like The Scientist) that much more interesting.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
This 1987 TV series showcases Hamill in the role of Danny Carlyle. Titled “Man on the Edge,” Hamill plays a person who wants to end his life by jumping from a hotel window. Playing opposite him for much of show is Michael Ironside in the role of Lt. Rick Muldoon. What unfolds over the course of this half-hour show is essentially a one-act play in which Muldoon tries to figure out why Carlyle wants to end his life. At the same time, he’s got to stop Carlyle from following his worse impulses. As you can guess, things about both characters are revealed and (since this is Alfred Hitchcock Presents), nothing happens as one might think it will. Honestly, within the massive canon of Hamill’s work, what essentially amounts to a short film really gives us some of his finest work.
The Big Red One
This classic, directed by Hollywood iconoclast Samuel Fuller, sees Lee Marvin lead a group of men through various horrific battles during World War II. Hamill plays the part of Private Griff. He is a soldier doing his job and just trying to survive the war. Aside from the massive performance of Marvin, Hamill is aided by Robert Carradine as Private Zab (who is something of a surrogate for Samuel Fuller). What really makes Hamill stand out in this film is how he approaches being a soldier. One might think with all the experience he’s accrued battling the Empire, that he might show some of that similar style in a movie about a real war. That it might be hard not to see him in the role for which he might be best known. To Hamill’s credit that is never on display. As Private Griff he’s literally a man on a foreign world who is using his training as well as his instincts to survive. Lee Marvin gives a classic performance in this film and, honestly, Hamill is right alongside him.
Having been propelled to super-stardom by George Lucas, it seems only fitting that Mark Hamill would eventually work with Steven Spielberg (even if he was only the Executive Producer) on something. In an episode titled “Gather Ye Acorns,” Hamill plays Jonathon. He’s a character who, at an impressionable age, takes the advice of a Troll (David Rappaport) to follow his dreams. Jonathan does and soon discovers over his life that following ones heart can be great but there are also practical matters to think about. It’s hard not to wonder if maybe Spielberg was sort of examining his own life by producing such an episode?) Either way, Hamill does impressive work here as a character having to look back on their life’s decisions. Amazing Stories was a show that, even though it had 2 seasons, doesn’t seem like it was appreciated as much as it should have been. “Gather Ye Acorns” may not have been It’s A Wonderful Life, but it is a well acted episode (that also features a nice turn from Forest Whitaker) and it manages to show further range from a 35 year old Mark Hamill.
Hamill has re-invented himself so much over the course of his career that it seems like something of a joke now that he would’ve done a movie called Corvette Summer. Well, he did and in the role of Kenneth W. Dantley Jr., he plays a recent high school graduate (Hamill was 27 at the time) on the trail of a stolen corvette. This leads him to the City of Sin where he forges a relationship with Vanessa (Annie Potts) who is trying to make a go of being prostitute. Corvette Summer is a fun 1970s romp in the vein of another Roger Corman produced film, Eat My Dust. Corvette Summer is whimsical, filled with fun, and has the kind of storytelling that makes you root for the characters and want find out how everything ends up for them. Hamill and Potts have a solid chemistry and that also lends a hand in making Corvette Summer a very entertaining ride. Hamill certainly shows that he has leading man abilities across genres.
What a treat it must’ve been for Hamill to work with a legend like Rod Serling on a show like Night Gallery. Honestly, given the 20 second role that Hamill inhabits here as Francis (a messenger), they probably didn’t spend too much time together. The episode Hamill was in is titled “There Aren’t Any More MacBanes”. In this portion of the Night Gallery episode, it centers around a young man who is threatened with being cut off from his rich uncle’s money. This can’t happen so the nephew gets involved in the satanic underworld so they can conjure a being to kill said uncle. As I said, Hamill plays a very small part in the proceedings but, while on screen, he adds a lot to the overall creepiness of the Night Gallery milieu. There is a moment where he has to laugh at the person he is delivering something to. Hamill does it in a way that makes everything happening on the show seem like a diabolical inside joke… just slightly off. Some solid, early stuff from Hamill who went on to help change cinema.
The Partridge Family
Just looking at The Partridge Family, a young Mark Hamill seems like the perfect fit for sing-song show like this, right? Airing in 1971, this show gives us a 20 year old Hamill as Jerry. Apparently, Laurie (Susan Dey) thinks that Jerry is going to ask her to be his girlfriend. Then Laurie ends up having to get braces and it ruins her life. Everything about this episode (actually the whole show!) is meant to be fun and light. Ultimately, it all works out in the end. Hamill is on hand as the good looking boy across the street without too much else to do. Honestly, that’s fine here because they don’t really make shows like this anymore. To see Hamill make another whimsical turn, certainly bolsters what a fine actor he has turned out to be in his illustrious career.
The Incredible Hulk
In this animated series from the late 1990s, Hamill really gives voice to the characters of Gargoyle and Tong-Zing. While the work he does isn’t too much different than his work as a character like The Joker, what is cool is that Gargoyle was actually an ally of Bruce Banner aka The Incredible Hulk. Gargoyle is interesting because he is very flawed in a lot of ways, but at the same time understands that he needs to change. Tong Zing is part of royal lineage (his full name is King Tong Zing) and it’s more of a subdued character for Hamill to voice. A truly formidable specimen, Tong-Zing was kind of a blank slate for which Hamill eagerly filled with various nuance. While not the voice performances the actor is known for, these are still important in regards to his body of work.
Started in 1963, General Hospital is still on the air today! This soap opera has stood test of time as it chronicles the goings on of a very busy hospital in Port Charles, New York. In the role of Kent Murray, Hamill plays a guy who through sheer circumstance has to live with his aunt (and his sister) once their father shuffles the mortal coil. Hamill really didn’t re-invent the wheel with this role but that would’ve been hard to do given the limits of daytime TV. He only played Kent for about 12 episodes, but there’s nothing in his portrayal to suggest that, even then, Hamill didn’t have the goods as an actor. Again, it is a testament to him that he was able to do the work that he did on a show like this. Mark Hamill obviously had something as a performer because it wouldn’t be long before he took on a role that completely changed his life, motion pictures, and modern science fiction.
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