Hamill spoke about Fisher's death at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando on Friday

By Mike Miller
April 14, 2017 08:21 PM
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Star Wars Celebration 2015
Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Mark Hamill is opening up about Carrie Fisher‘s death, and sharing new details about their intimate friendship.

Speaking to an audience of superfans fans at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando on Friday, Hamill began by saying, “Well, here’s a panel I was hoping wouldn’t come for another 30 years. Someone once wrote when someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. And here today, we’re here to celebrate the treasure that was Carrie Frances Fisher.”

Fisher, 60, died on Dec. 27, four days after going into cardiac arrest while aboard a plane. She had already finished filming scenes for franchise’s next installation, The Last Jedi.

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Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope - 1977
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in 1977.
| Credit: Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox/REX/Shutterstock

“I have been trying to deal with this,” Hamill said of her death. “There’s the five stages of grief, and just when I think I’ve gotten to acceptance, I bounce back to anger, because I’m mad. She should be here. She made every celebration so much fun. She deserved to be here.”

Despite the frustration, Hamill noted that “Carrie would want us to be happy, she wouldn’t want us to be consumed by grief. She was all about having fun everyday.” But it wasn’t always easy, and like real siblings, the onscreen twins were prone to spats. “We were more like brother and sister than we realized, because we loved each other, but we fought and we criticized and we were judgmental, and we’d get fed up with one another.”

Hamill also spoke about the first time they met. They were in Paris at the time and decided to get to know each other over dinner before filming. A production assistant accompanied Hamill to the restaurant, and they decided to switch names as a practical joke on Fisher.

“I was unprepared [to meet her],” Hamill joked. “I was just bowled over by her humor and her wit; how sardonic she was, how dark she was. Within 20 minutes she was telling me stories, personal stories about her mother and her father, that I wouldn’t have shared with you if I’d known you for ten years,” he added.

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“I’m going, ‘Yikes, do I have to know this stuff!’ We were so taken aback we almost forgot our little joke, and of course Carrie, in this mad world of creativity, didn’t even notice when we said we were kidding [about our identities]. She said, ‘Uh-huh,’ and then continued. All that planning and she was much more entertaining than our lame joke.”

Hamill and Fisher became close while filming the first Star Wars movie, but the relationship was complicated. “People say, ‘Was she your best friend?’ Well no, I don’t think so,” Hamill admitted. “The thing that she had about her, which no one else could match: She made you feel, when you were in her presence, like you were her best friend. She was so laser focused on you, and so engaging, that it was exhilarating to be around her.”

Repeating often that he felt “under her spell,” the actor said he became jealous of her attention. “I didn’t want to share her with Harrison [Ford], I didn’t want to share her with anybody,” he explained. “At the same time, as attracted as I was to her, I thought, ‘I couldn’t handle her as a girlfriend. She’s too much. She’s what you’d call a high maintenance relationship.’ ”

STARLIGHT
Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in 2014.
| Credit: Araya Diaz/Getty

As hard as he tried to “resist every impulse” to form a relationship, Hamill admitted, “A part of me did fall in love with her.” The closest they ever came to acting on those impulses, Hamill said, occurred after they got into a flirty, faux-argument over who was the better kisser. “Cut to us making out on the couch like a couple of horny teenagers,” he said, to great applause from the audience. A bout of laughter cut the make-out session short, and Hamill said, “I thought we dodged a bullet there, because we had the fun without the responsibility.”

The infatuation continued after the movie wrapped, and Hamill became a frequent guest at her mother, Debbie Reynolds’, mansion in Beverly Hills. There, “the seventh kid of a middle class family” marveled at the endless parade of celebrities and their luxury cars that would pour in and out of the driveway.

But the relationship had “cooled” by the time they filmed Empire Strikes Back. She had a boyfriend at the time and Hamill had a wife and baby on the way. On Return of the Jedi, Hamill said that Fisher would carry around thick philosophy volumes by authors like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, but would secretly read the tabloids in the privacy of her trailer. When he teasingly asked her why, she snapped, “Because I want [the crew] to think I’m smart.”

Hamill ended by saying that while “it would be very easy to be consumed by grief,” Carrie wouldn’t want it that way. He added that there hasn’t been a night since her death when he hasn’t gone to sleep thinking about her: “She’s looking down from the celestial stratosphere with those big brown eyes, that sly smile on her face, as she lovingly extends me the middle finger,” he joked. “And that’s how I want you to think of her, that was Carrie.”