England’s Prince Harry and his brother Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visited the Pinewood Studios set of “Star Wars: Episode VIII” on Tuesday, chatting with stars Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, and director Rian Johnson — and getting a hug from Chewbacca.
The tour of the studio, outside London, was tied to William’s role as president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and was designed to “recognize the wealth of fantastic British creative talent involved in the production of the ‘Star Wars’ films,” said Kensington Palace.
In a nearly 90-second video posted by the UK newspaper The Independent, William, 33, and Harry, 31, duel with lightsabers, pose with cast-members and others, and share hugs with Chewbacca — played by Finnish basketball player Joonas Suotamo, who was Peter Mayhew’s double for the more physically demanding scenes in last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Harry, who served as an Apache helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps, sits in the cockpit of a rebel A-wing fighter.
During the princes’ duel, the UK paper The Telegraph said, Harry found himself with a red Dark Side lightsaber and joked, “Why do I always have to be the baddie?” He then told his brother with mock menace, “Come on, let’s dance.” Harry also commented that his godson, William’s son Prince George, “would love one of these.”
Hamill, the paper said, took the opportunity to tell William, “Now that I have you here I should ask something that probably only you can answer. So when I found out that Leia was my [character Luke Skywalker’s] sister and she was a princess, I wondered does that make me royalty?” William good-naturedly replied, “I think you’ve got a good chance.”
The 64-year-old star of the original trilogy told the press he understood how Chewbacca could breach royal protocol and give the princes hugs. “If I went towards royalty with my arms outstretched I would get arrested,” he said, “but there’s something about a Wookie that means you just want to be hugged.”