From Jedi to Joker – the Evolution of Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill became famous playing a hero. For legions of Gen X-wingers that grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, Mark was the heart and soul of the story. We identified with his longing gaze across the Tatooine desert and his inherent benevolence. If Han Solo was the guy that we would have sneaked out to see behind our parents’ backs, Luke Skywalker was the guy we brought home to meet the folks.

His close association to such an iconic character may have typecast him, but his career has never slowed down. Many people mistakenly believe that he hasn’t done anything besides Star Wars. While it’s true that he didn’t strike box office gold like Harrison Ford, he never disappeared from the pop culture landscape. Ironically, he gained considerable notoriety as the voice behind the Joker in the animated “Batman” series.

What has puzzled me for a long time is how such an incredibly versatile actor (voice and otherwise) has been unable to break away from the Luke Skywalker persona. His work both on and off Broadway is a testament to his talent as an actor. He starred in both “The Elephant Man” and “Amadeus” after Return of the Jedi came out in 1983. His resume lacks the high profile film roles that made Harrison Ford a star beyond the Star Wars franchise. Much of his work is done off screen, so most people are unaware of his real talent.

I am happy that he has found great success playing villains behind the scenes, but I would love to see his work come to life on the big screen. He has been mentioned as a potential choice to portray the Joker in the next Batman movie, which would be perfect. His Joker performance on the animated series is fantastic. You would never even know that Mark Hamill is the man behind the Joker. There is much debate as to whether he could transfer his vocal performance to a movie incarnation of the Joker. I personally feel that he would do a great job and the role would be the perfect antithesis to the heroic Jedi knight that made him famous. Darth Vader would be proud.

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