“I’m not happy about it and I think you’re wrong”: Before Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill Had Disagreement With Another Director in the Best Star Wars Film

Mark Hamill butted heads with the director of The Empire Strikes Back who had a more hands-on approach about actors and their performances

Mark Hamill Star Wars Empire Strikes Back


  • Mark Hamill built a rapport with George Lucas after working with him in A New Hope, but when Irvin Kershner took over, things changed.
  • Hamill and Kershner butted heads over some of the creative choices with his role as Luke Skywalker.
  • However, Hamill revealed that he loved such an actor-director collaboration between the two of them.
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After working with George Lucas in the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, Mark Hamill found it a little uncomfortable to work with Irvin Kershner in the next film. Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back, which is considered one of the best Star Wars movies ever. Hamill and Kershner often butted heads over the creative direction with the character of Luke Skywalker. Nevertheless, Hamill shared that they had a mutual respect for each other for being opinionated.

Mark Hamill in a still from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm Ltd.
Mark Hamill in a still from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm Ltd.

Hamill had more heated arguments with another Star Wars director. His return to the sequel trilogy in a major role was under Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. Hamill had his apprehensions about the director’s vision, which led to clashes between the two.

Mark Hamill Butted Heads With The Director Of The Best Star Wars Movie Director

Irvin Kershner on the sets of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm Ltd.
Irvin Kershner on the sets of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm Ltd.

After directing the first film, George Lucas was not ready to direct another film after A New Hope due to the stress he experienced. He handed over the directing duties to Irvin Kershner and focused his attention on his special effects company ILM. However, Mark Hamill, who got used to working under Lucas, found it challenging to work under a new director with a new approach.


Lucas was a more technical director and had a more hands-off approach when it came to the performances of the actors. However, Kershner was an actor’s director and gave directions and feedback to the performances. Hamill couldn’t agree with many of the director’s opinions and arguments erupted between the two on set.

When Uproxx asked the actor about these arguments between him and Kershner during the Sundance Film Festival 2017, Hamill shared this difference in approach between Lucas and Kershner. Hamill shared that Lucas didn’t care about things like character motivation and backstory but Kershner did. He shared both he and the director were headstrong and opinionated and were bound to cause some arguments.

He often did not like the way the director wanted something, but he would go on to do it after expressing how he was unhappy and thought Kershner was wrong. Hamill shared that he loved the collaboration between him and Kershner. Hamill shared with Uproxx:


Listen, as opposed to George, George is more technical and he doesn’t really want to talk about motivation and backstory and that kind of thing. Kershner was much more of an actor’s director, and we were both very headstrong and opinionated. So I think what he’s referring to is that we butted heads a couple of times over interpretation or whatever it was.

He continued:

And I’d say, ‘Well, fine. I’ll do it your way, but I’m not happy about it and I think you’re wrong.’ But I loved him and I think he appreciated the fact that I was opinionated and engaged, because that’s the relationship of a director and an actor, to collaborate like that.

Kershner’s film faced several production difficulties and budget problems. It took a long two years to complete the film and Kershner was so exhausted that he opted out of the third film. However, Kershner’s efforts paid off as the film went on to have a significant impact on popular culture. Box Office Mojo reported the worldwide collection of the film as $538 million, while other sources have reported varying numbers.

Mark Hamill Also Disagreed With Another Star Wars Sequel Director

Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill in a still from Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017) | Lucasfilm Ltd.
Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill in a still from Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) | Lucasfilm Ltd.

Returning to the franchise after 32 years, Mark Hamill did not like Luke Skywalker’s character growth between the original and the sequel films. In a 2017 interview with SensaCine, Hamill shared that he had a problem with Rian Johnson‘s story for The Last Jedi. Johnson shows that the character has given up hope, which Hamill does not agree with. However, he did it anyway because it was somebody else’s story. Hamill shared with SensaCine:


I said to Rian, I said ‘Jedis don’t give up.’ I mean, even if he had a problem, he would maybe take a year to try and regroup, but if he made a mistake he would try and right that wrong, so right there, we had a fundamental difference, but, it’s not my story anymore. It’s somebody else’s story, and Rian needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective.

Mark Hamill may have had a point this time around as fans too agreed with the actor that Johnson’s story did not do justice to Luke. The film was highly divisive despite the director’s attempts to defend it. Hamill later went back on his words and apologized on X sharing that Johnson’s film is “an all-time GREAT one!”

All Star Wars films, including The Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi, are now available for streaming on Disney+.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1388

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.