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08/26/14

Star stuck: Why 'Star Wars' still is making life viable for former stars

A friend of mine is a huge "Star Wars fan," and he started talking immediately during our last conversation about the new movie, "Episode VII," which is slated to be released in December 2015.
Naturally, chatter about plot lines, new characters, returning heroes and villains abounded, along with joyful glee that George Lucas, the original mind behind the "Star Wars" franchise, won't have much, if anything, to do with these next three movies, thankfully given how poor episodes one through three were more than a decade ago.
As much as bashing Lucas is enjoyable, the real treasure that is "Star Wars" won't go unnoticed by any means, particularly from the millions of fans that adored the movies as kids and will be waiting in line next December, perhaps with their own kids in tow.
But the real love affair with "Star Wars" truthfully isn't so much between fans or admirers but rather the cast of the original 1977 film, namely Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and the rest of the crew from almost 40 years ago.
Hamill, Fisher, along with the actors that played C-3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca essentially made names for themselves as part of the "Star Wars" cast but really couldn't do much beyond that brand and series of movies. They experienced moderate to slim success post "Star Wars" as their acting careers were both defined and plagued by the roles. Some within the business call it type cast.

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Neither Hamill nor Fisher remained A list superstars after "Star Wars" concluded in the early 1980s, and both have toiled in relatively obscurity for the better part of the 1990s and 2000s, aside from the occasional convention or show about, you guessed it, "Star Wars."
What makes "Star Wars" truly special is the idea that someone like Hamill and Fisher can literally do nothing for decades but suddenly become important and relevant again at the moment talk of a new "Star Wars" trilogy comes to fruition. It was only a few days ago that Hamill was having microphones shoved in his face while he was sporting his new, "contractually obligated" beard and chatting it up about the new movie.
Hamill most likely hasn't seen any reporter or writer of any relevancy since the 80s, so this most likely was a welcomed change. The paycheck from the movie won't hurt, either.
My friend marveled at how Hamill seemed filled with life as part of his media tour for the new movie and that even Harrison Ford, the one "Star Wars" regular that experienced remarkable success even after his Hans Solo character, reveled in reprising his role that made him a household name.
And that is what "Star Wars" does; it captivates, enthralls and holds the interest of even the cynics who swore they'd never watch another "Star Wars" movie after "The Phantom Menace" debacle of 1999. For the actors involved, they're just as excited and anxious as the fans that made the movie series such a sensation.

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