Mark Hamill, simply put, is the best. After becoming a household name in 1977 thanks to a certain space wizards movie, Hamill has had a long and fruitful career in film, theater, and television. But even aside from all that, he’s just a cool guy. Whether he’s a Jedi Knight, fighting off Jay and Silent Bob, or in a vampire rivalry on What We Do in the Shadows, Mark Hamill always puts a smile on our face. In honor of his 70th birthday, here are the reasons why Mark Hamill will always be near and dear to our hearts.
He’s Frickin’ Luke Skywalker
Let’s get the big one out of the way first. Mark Hamill is frickin’ Luke Skywalker. As the central character of the original Star Wars trilogy, he was the everyman hero everyone could identify with. While Han and Leia got to be sassy, and the droids and Chewie got to be cute, it was Hamill’s portrayal of Luke that was the emotional center of the saga. Hamill showed the most character growth throughout the films, going from farmboy kid to frustrated apprentice to Jedi Knight.
And then, decades later, he gave us the gift of “grumpy old man Luke.” Which is a role for which he should have received an Oscar nomination. His final battle with Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi is one for the ages. And when appeared as young Luke in The Mandalorian? It hit us right in the feels, bringing us back to the young Jedi Knight we all fell in love with as kids. Luke Skywalker is the King Arthur of the modern age, and Mark Hamill is his beating heart. There is simply no Luke without him.
He’s the Best Joker Ever
Ever since Cesar Romero put on the white clown makeup on Batman ‘66, a metric ton of actors have played Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime. And most of them have been legendary in their own way. Two actors even won Oscars playing him. But in our opinion, the Joker as portrayed by Mark Hamill in Batman: The Animated Series (and its subsequent spin-offs) is the absolute best portrayal, hands down.
What makes Hamill’s Joker so fantastic? He’s the best of every version, from the comics to other cartoons to live-action, up to that point. He combines the campy fun of Romero’s Joker with the real menace of Nicholson’s take on the character. Try reading a Joker scene in a comic and not hear Hamill’s voice. It’s impossible. Every iteration of the Joker will always be compared to his, and for good reason. Mark Hamill’s Joker is the GOAT. There’s just no beating that iconic, mad cackle.
The Voice Acting King
Marvel / Nickelodeon / Netflix
Joker is merely one of dozens upon dozens of animated voices provided by Mark Hamill over the years. Think he’s a DC Comics only guy? Think again. His voice acting career includes characters in the ‘90s Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, and more recent Marvel series like Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He was Lord Ozai, ruler of the Fire Nation, in Avatar: The Last Airbender. And he’s provided voices for the English translations of Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
Then there are the appearances on The Simpsons, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, and dozens of other credits. The list goes on and on. And that’s not even counting all of his video game work. Most recently, he provided the voice of Skeletor for Masters of the Universe: Revelation and appeared on Invincible. So even if we took the Joker totally out of the equation, Mark Hamill is still the greatest animated voice actor of a generation. Maybe even two generations.
Played the Trickster in 3 different DC Universes
While he’s most famous for voicing the Joker, Hamill has also left his stamp on another classic DC villain. A stamp on three different iterations of the character across the Multiverse in fact! In 1990, Hamill played the Trickster on the original 1990 series The Flash. He then vexed the Justice League as another version of the Trickster on Justice League Unlimited. Finally, he played the Trickster of the Arrowverse on the 2014 version of The Flash. Anyone else who attempts to do the Trickster in the future will have some big clown shoes to fill.
He Makes Twitter Tolerable
That debate was the worst thing I've ever seen & I was in The Star Wars Holiday Special.— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) September 30, 2020
Twitter, and social media in general, is a cesspool. We all know this. It’s constant negativity, usually followed up by even more negativity. And yet somehow, Mark Hamill has maintained his wit and charm on Twitter, and at least once every few days posts something that brings a smile to our faces.
He never says a negative thing against anyone. (Unless they really, really deserve it). With his “space sis” Carrie Fisher no longer with us, he has carried on her legacy of being sardonically funny online while still being warm and loveable. Thank the Maker.
Mark Hamill Is Delightfully Unpretentious
Twentieth Century Television
Sometimes, when an actor becomes iconic for one legendary role, they get real prickly when you bring it up. The late, great Leonard Nimoy went through a whole “ I Am Not Spock” phase. (He got over it.) But Mark Hamill is delightfully unpretentious about the fact that he is forever known as Luke Skywalker. You’ll never see him rant about how he “doesn’t wanna talk about Luke anymore” on social media. Even though he IS much more than Luke. You get the sense that he struggled for enough years as a young actor to get recognized, that he’s never going to not honor the role that made him famous. As he once told MTV in the ’90s, “once a Mouseketeer, always a Mouseketeer.”
He’s One of Us
Lucasfilm / FX Networks
Before it was cool to say you were a geek, Mark Hamill proudly declared his nerd bonafides to the world. He grew up reading and loving comic books, and later created series like The Black Pearl for Dark Horse Comics back in the ‘90s. He also wrote several issues of The Simpsons for Bongo Comics. And it should be noted that when it came to the original Star Wars, he was one of the only people involved who saw the massive potential for the franchise before it came out. Why? Because at the end of the day, he’s one of us.