If you're not following Mark Hamill on Twitter, maybe fix that? The actor, whose many famous roles include Adrian Ripburger in Full Throttle, routinely answers fan questions. Today he revealed how they shot the creepy vision sequence in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader's mask explodes and Luke Skywalker's dead eyes stare out.
It was my head protruding through an opening in the set floor as I stood below-My prop head was tested but rejected. https://t.co/10mUunERWB— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 22, 2016
So there you go. For a trilogy beloved for its use of practical effects (a tradition J.J. Abrams deliberately revitalized with The Force Awakens last year), it's a comfort to know that is actually Hamill's grill in Darth's smoldering helmet.
Here's the whole thing in case you need a refresher:
Let's also say a word of gratitude for what had to be an unusual and tough acting assignment: Spending weeks on a sound stage talking to a puppet. Of course, it wasn't total solitude — Frank Oz and all kinds of people were on the set. But when it was go time, it was still Mark Hamill by himself, working hard with Oz to bring Yoda to life as a being with some kind of character and presence.
Hamill paid homage, kind of, to that job when on Daisy Ridley's birthday in early April the two recreated the scene where Yoda rides on Luke's back, training him up in the Force. For Star Wars: Episode VIII, coming December 2017, it's a good bet that Luke will teach Rey the ways of the Jedi, just as Yoda did for him, and for dear old Ben Kenobi.