Besides the existence of the film itself, the best part about Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that it gives Mark Hamill an excuse to do a tour of late-night promotional appearances. Despite not being able to talk about the movie, Hamill is a consistent delight. His mixture of impressions, anecdotes, and genuine passion for life and art is incredibly compelling.
See, for instance, his appearance last night on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, where he completely enlivens an otherwise throwaway idea just be showing up. Colbert’s skit here isn’t his best idea; it’s Luke trying to hide from Stormtroopers in the Mos Eisley Cantina, and an obnoxious bouncer (and kind of upsetting queer stereotype?) played by Colbert refuses him entry. On the whole, it’s a mixture of cliches and mediocre Star Wars references. Colbert clearly likes Star Wars, but he’s not an expert the way he demonstrably is whenever The Lord of the Rings rolls into town.
And yet Hamill makes it work for him. Simply by giving this performance 120 percent and putting all his charisma toward it, he manages to elevate the sketch into a pretty entertaining watch.
Hamill is a magnetic presence, and if this is what he can do with mediocre material, I’m so, so excited to see what he’s going to do with good material next weekend.