The last time Mark Hamill (R) met Darth Vader (L), the stakes were much higher. (The Empire Strikes Back)
Luke Skywalker has met Darth Vader in combat for the first time since 1983’s Return of the Jedi thanks to an online game of Yahtzee and a programmer in Iceland.
Games website CardGames.io, which is normally anonymous and matches contestants randomly, had matched actor Mark Hamill (jedi warrior and Darth Vader’s estranged son Luke) with a player whose avatar was a silhouette of Darth Vader’s famous helmet and whose on-screen name was “Dad”.
Hamill, who has reprised the role he first played in 1977 in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the upcoming The Last Jedi, revealed the encounter on his Twitter feed, saying he was #StillDuellingDadVader.
Removing any suggestion the matchup was accidental, the game said, “The Force is strong with you” when Hamill rolled a yahtzee — getting five of the same number from rolling five die.
The answer to how this happened came from game developer — and self-confessed Star Wars fan — Einar Egilsson in a Facebook post followed by a blog post titled “An easter egg for one user: Luke Skywalker”.
Mr Egilsson had been alerted by another user of CardGames.io that Hamill, a prolific Twitter user, had shared a screenshot of a successful match he had won convincingly thanks to 3 yahtzees in one game.
Under the heading “Episode IV: A New Tweet”, Mr Gilsson wrote: “I was happy to see it, posted about it on social media, and it was just a nice weird experience.”
He said he did not think any more about it until someone claiming to be familiar with Hamill sent him an email saying Hamill played the game all the time.
“She suggested that I could play a prank on him by changing the opponent’s name to Mark,” Mr Egilsson said.
“I liked the idea of doing something like that but figured that it would be cooler if I could change the opponent to Darth Vader and just name him ‘Dad’.”
Mr Egilsson said he spent “an hour or so” coding up an easer egg that would target Hamill specifically.
The easter egg was made possible by the fact that although CardGames.io does not use user accounts, Hamill had created a custom avatar: A young girl with glasses, long hair and a large smile.
By using the features of the avatar to trigger his easter egg, Mr Egilsson only had to wait a day for Hamill to find the prank.
When a fan sent Hamill a screenshot of a CardGames.io Facebook post describing the easter egg, he replied “#BestFansInTheGalaxy”.