Mark Hamill on How His ABC Western Series Nearly Cost Him Star Wars

It's funny how the stars literally align for those who get their opportunities to shine. For Mark Hamill, fate could had set a different path if he had better success on an ABC TV series he starred. Posting on Instagram, the actor opened up about how a canceled western led to the biggest signature role as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). "FUN FACT: If #TheTexasWheelers was a ratings success & renewed for a second season, I would have been unavailable to play Luke. #FickleFingerOfFate" he wrote.

The Mandalorian: Mark Hamill Chimes in on Season Two Finale
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983). Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Mark Hamill's Western The Texas Wheelers

The ABC series The Texas Wheelers, which ran from 1974-75, was an earthy comedy about the four motherless Wheeler children and their lovable, but cantankerous, father Zack. With Zack avoiding work, Truckie led the clan, with Doobie (Hamill), Boo, and T.J. The series also starred Jack Elam, Gary Busey, Karen Obediear, Tony Becker, and Bruce Kimball. While Hamill was already a regular on TV with guest spots and recurring roles, The Texas Wheelers was his first starring role.

Mark Hamill on How The Texas Wheelers Cancelation Led to Star Wars
Image courtesy of ABC

Hamill's New Fronter in Star Wars

Hamill's Luke would go on to remain a staple of the franchise in the remaining episodes from the remaining original trilogy to the sequel trilogy reprising the role in live-action for the first time in 32 years in The Force Awakens (2015) following Return of the Jedi (1983). While the actor's career hasn't reaped from the franchise as much as say his co-star Harrison Ford has, he was offered one more opportunity to relive his younger glory years on the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. In the season two finale, a CG body double was used and the Hamill's face de-aged to resemble his 1983-self with the actor lending his voice doing his best to sound decades younger to save the day.

shutterstoMark Hamill at the World premiere of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, USA on December 14, 2015. Editorial credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.comck_351343061
Editorial credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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