3:22pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Mark Hamill to Host 'Star Wars' Lightsaber Documentary on ESPN
While Luke Skywalker has been mysteriously absent from much of the promotion for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the actor who plays him will be front and center during a new documentary that looks at the real-life inspiration for the iconic weaponry and fighting style at the heart of the Star Wars saga, as well as the work necessary to create the onscreen lightsaber fights.
Hamill will host ESPN's Star Wars: Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel, a documentary airing Dec. 15 as part of the channel's SC Featured strand.
"What people don’t realize is how much goes into what appears to be just minutes on the screen," Hamill said in a statement about the show. "The elaborate choreography for the actual fight is done on several different sets over a period of weeks and then it is edited down to what you see on the screens, so I am happy people are able to see the amount of work that goes into it."
As well as Luke Skywalker himself, viewers will get to see The Force Awakens' John Boyega and director J.J. Abrams talk about the history of the fictional weapon, with Ian McDiarmid — who played the Emperor in Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy — adding additional commentary, alongside experts in kendo, the martial art which inspired much of the lightsaber choreography.
"We will take viewers on a unique journey that examines the connection of these duels to sports and their evolution, from the original trilogy through the prequels, and now to Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Craig Lazarus, ESPN vp SportsCenter and news, storytelling units, said in a statement.