Mark Hamill Sparks 'Star Wars' Speculation With "Out of Work" Comment

mark hamill - Getty - H 2016
<p>mark <span data-scayt_word="hamill" data-scaytid="1">hamill</span> - Getty - H 2016</p>   |   Getty Images
Misdirection or plot teaser?

Mark Hamill has dropped a surprising tease about events in next year's Star Wars: Episode VIII that suggests that fans still recovering from the loss of Han Solo in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens might want to prepare for the next chapter in the space opera saga.

Appearing onstage at an event supporting homeless charity The Big Issue in London over the weekend, the actor reportedly told the audience, "I finish Episode VIII, and then I'm out of work."

With Star Wars: Episode IX already scheduled for May 23, 2019, the suggestion that Hamill will be out of work following the end of Episode VIII shooting is an odd one, leading many to read it as an implication that Luke Skywalker won't make it out of Rian Johnson's movie alive.

That potential plot development doesn't fully explain Hamill's comment, however; even if it turns out that Force Awakens started a trend in the new trilogy of killing off a beloved castmember from the original movies with each installment — in which case, look out, Carrie Fisher — the fact that Luke is a Jedi Knight would leave the possibility for him to reappear in future movies as a ghost, as Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi and Frank Oz's Yoda did in the original trilogy.

It's possible that Hamill misspoke and actually meant Episode IX, allowing him to stay in for the entire new trilogy — and perhaps even more possible that he was intentionally trying to misdirect the audience about the fate of Luke Skywalker in next year's movie and trolling fandom with his comments at the same time.

June 27, 3:28 p.m.: Hamill clarified his comments on Twitter, in response to this post.

Star Wars: Episode VIII will be released Dec. 15, 2017.