'Star Wars' Flashback: Mark Hamill Shares a Photo of Himself From the First Day of Filming, in 1976

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ (Photo: LucasFilm)

It wasn’t until the final frames of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that fans finally got a look at Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, who’s apparently been spending part of his post-Return of the Jedi time hanging out alone on a rocky island. We know that this December’s The Last Jedi will pick up right where its predecessor left off, with Skywalker apparently asking Daisy Ridley’s Rey, “Who are you?” That means viewers will at long last get to see Skywalker back in action. Before we get to that, Hamill is sharing with the world what may be the very first glimpse of him as the fabled hero.

On Saturday, Hamill tweeted out the above photo of himself on the Tunisian set of the one that started it all, George Lucas’s 1977 original A New Hope. The behind-the-scenes image of a young Hamill cracking his knuckles has been circulating for while, but the actor offered some new perspective on it: It could be the first photo of Luke Skywalker. He writes: “Taken in Tunisia early morning Day #1 waiting for my 1st shot (emerging from home for robot auction)-Perhaps the very 1st #LukePic #SW.”

Whether this is, in fact, the very first photo remains somewhat unclear. Nonetheless, given that it was apparently taken on the maiden day of shooting, it certainly has to be one of the earliest images of Hamill in Skywalker garb (and Hamill, of course, would probably know best). What is clear is that the skies aren’t cloudy in the above shot, meaning it was taken before the rare desert rainstorm that wound up delaying production. Moreover, it features Luke in the pair of sand-colored Levi’s that, in 2013, sold at auction for a whopping $36,100.

Forty years later, this snapshot of Hamill serves as a bracing reminder of the character’s, and franchise’s, longevity. No doubt the actor will be back in Jedi form when he joins Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and more in The Last Jedi, which lands in theaters on Dec. 15.

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