"Starring Mark Hamill"
Like I said, I was six the first time I met Mark on Tatooine. He was 23 years old when he played Luke Skywalker - a moisture farmer near the Jundland Wastes. I spent the next three years playing as a miniature version of the character Mark brought to life in STAR WARS.
It was fun, but it was about to get a whole lot cooler.
"1980" means The Empire Strikes Back, and where A New Hope had provided unlimited play - Empire unlocked a whole new level.
It was darker, more "real", and in it Luke had to grow up even more than he had the last time we saw him. Mark Hamill was older too, and so was I.
It was harder to pretend that I was Luke Skywalker, but action figures stood in perfectly well, and my Bespin Luke Skywalker figure went everywhere I did. When that thing wasn't being chased by a little plastic Darth Vader, it was in my pocket.
Perfect in his Rebel Fatigues uniform - that figure went bike riding, shopping, to school, to church, and even the doctor's office.
In a way Mark was the best friend a kid of nine could have. Ready to play whenever I wanted, and always there.
The costume Mark wore for most of Empire became something that I wanted to have myself, especially his jacket! "Bantha Tracks" - the newsletter of the Official Star Wars Fan Club (of which I was a member in good standing) even offered a kid's version. A jacket that by now I would have long ago grown out of.
BUT, I do have a uniform that I'm wearing as I type this. It's one of my all time favorite STAR WARS pieces, and I wear it whenever I get the chance. It's a perfect replica of the costume Mark Hamill wore, and of the uniform Luke Skywalker was wearing the first time he faced Lord Vader.
It's been a few years now since "Empire," and I've grown up & have my own nine year old who loves STAR WARS as much as I do.
It's fun watching "Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker" in the sequel trilogy with her. He's awesome in "Rise of Skywalker," and it gets me every time he raises Red-5 from it's watery resting place.
As the years go on I hope there’ll be new Mark Hamill performances to look forward to. In a way he's been there my whole life, and if you ask me it'll never be time for THE Jedi to end.