You may assume that there’s no real connection between Robert Englund and the Star Wars franchise, but such an assumption would actually be quite wrong. No, Englund never appeared in any of the movies, but he did audition for the original film… and that’s not even his most significant tie to the series’ history.
Reader Rohan Williams just directed our attention to an interview he conducted with Englund for the website Force Material, and in it Englund mostly talks about Mark Hamill. As it turns out, Englund and Hamill were pseudo- roommates in the ’70s, and according to Englund, it was he who convinced Hamill to audition for Star Wars!
“At that time, Mark Hamill was always on my couch,” Englund recalled, following up a story about his own Star Wars audition. “He was a TV star. He was filming a TV series across the street; I think it was called The Texas Wheelers, with Gary Busey. So he was always at my place, and I knew he was home because his cowboy boots were out front. He always left his boots outside. So there he was, halfway through a six-pack, watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I went in and I said to him, ‘Look at these sides, I think you’re right for this, man. This character is like a space prince, and it’s George Lucas!‘”
“Mark loved science fiction and horror,” Englund continued. “I’d been a fanboy, too, but Mark was in arrested development as a fanboy. He’d been an army brat, and he just idolized everything in American popular culture. But he was hip, too! He was into The Kinks, he was into Lenny Bruce, he was into Monty Python before anybody. He turned me on to some of that.”
“So I said to him, ‘Mark, you’ve got to do this, it’s George Lucas!’ I wasn’t even really pushing the space bit, I was just saying, ‘Wow, what if you got to be in a George Lucas movie, Mark? You’re the kind of actor he loves!’ So he got on the phone to his agent and the rest is history.”
Be sure to read the full interview for more Englund/Hamill stories!