Thirty-eight years after Mark Hamill broke out as one of the most recognizable characters in movie history, Jedi Luke Skywalker, he’s returning to the Star Wars franchise. This time, he’s part of the old guard (along with Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher)—though he’s remained mum on what exactly Luke’s been up to since we last saw him. In a recent interview with TIME, Hamill admitted he was surprised when he was called back to a galaxy far, far away.
“It was the summer of 2012, and it was the last thing I would have expected. What could he possibly want me for at this point?” he says. “George had told us over the many years even before he did the prequels that he didn’t want to be doing this into his 70s, and what I didn’t foresee obviously was that he was going to sell the company and then all bets are off.”
When Hamill was enlisted for the reboots, he felt that there would be a fan uprising if he turned the role down. “At first, I had huge misgivings. But it’s like being drafted. You get a notice, and you have no say. Truthfully, it’s a thrill to be involved again, but the part of me that was against it realized if I were to politely declined that’s engendering some serious negative reaction from the people that love it. I mean, how dare I do a selfish thing like deny them my participation in something I’ve loved since childhood?” he says.
“Remember the torch-bearing angry villagers that stormed the castle in Frankenstein? I had images of that, substitute light abers for torches, and I had an idea that they know where I live, they might actually come get me.”
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “I had no choice whatsoever. And I love it,” he concluded.