According to Robert Englund, Mark Hamill hadn’t even heard of Star Wars prior to the future Freddy Krueger telling him about it.
Freddy Krueger remains one of the great horror movie villains ever, but his portrayer, Robert Englund, pulled a rather noble move when it came time to toss a fellow actor by the name of Mark Hamill the perfect role. Or at least that’s the story Englund is telling.
As Robert Englund tells it, he got wind of a little movie called Star Wars after a failed audition for George Lucas’ friend, Francis Ford Coppola, who was casting Apocalypse Now. (The role in question was for a surfer, so presumably the one that went to Sam Bottoms.) While the casting department only took pictures of Robert Englund for Star Wars, he passed it onto his pal Mark Hamill. “I’m a character actor, so I never thought of it for me, but when I went back to my apartment, there was Mark with a Heineken in his fist watching Bob Newhart. I told him about it, and he got on the phone and called his agent.” Englund added that the movie may have already been on the radar of Hamill’s agent. “Now his agent, I believe she already had him up for the role…And that may be true, I don’t know, but I know that Mark hadn’t heard about it yet. And I did tell him about it, and he got on the phone. That’s the story.”
While Mark Hamill would of course go on to play Luke Skywalker several times, Robert Englund ended up doing just fine himself, landing A Nightmare on Elm Street less than a decade later. And even though Englund knows he wouldn’t have been a good fit, he did love the character name. “What a name…I’d never heard the name before, I didn’t know what it meant, just the coolest name in the world, Luke Skywalker.” We assume this is why Englund signed on as Beebo Crozier in The Great Smokey Roadblock…
Interestingly, Mark Hamill has previously debunked parts of Robert Englund’s story, saying back in 2018 that he wasn’t sharing an apartment with him at that point in the ‘70s since he was a “working actor.” Of note, both Hamill and Englund have both spoken extensively about retiring their trademark characters.
Englund is currently promoting the documentary Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story. You can watch the terrific interview our own Tyler Nichols conducted with the actor below.