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Mark Hamill explains why the Star Wars teaser didn’t include original cast members

The recent debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser prompted no small amount of discussion, and one of the big questions that fans have been asking since seeing the footage regards the whereabouts of the original cast members, who will be reprising their roles for the new film. Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, recently addressed his — and his fellow Star Wars veterans’ — absence from the footage.

“This is about the new generation of characters,” he told Yahoo. “I think that’s the most important thing. It’s the opening act of a whole new approach to the storytelling.”

Hamill discussed the new chapter of Star Wars cinema while promoting his role in the animated feature Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, and indicated that he was actually surprised when he was asked to suit up as the famous Jedi again.

Related: Picking apart the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser, frame by frame

“I never thought I’d be involved in it again, period,” he said. “And then when George [Lucas] said that they wanted to do more, I rightly assumed that it wouldn’t be our story, because we had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This must be our offspring and the current generation, with us there lending the kind of support that Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness did in the original. So no, [not being in the teaser] didn’t surprise me.”

Hamill also had rave reviews for the android everyone’s talking about lately, the “ball droid” now officially named BB-8 that was seen in the preview. According to Hamill, the character is the product of practical effects, not digital FX as many suspected.

“They never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to come up with, you know? I said, ‘How are you ever gonna top R2-D2, the most adorable droid in movie history?’ And then they have this new one,” he said. “When they were demonstrating how they did this thing, live on set — because it’s not CGI, that’s a live prop — I was just amazed. They let me play around with it.”

“I was running it all around at the creature shop up in Pinewood,” he laughed. “I’m telling you, it’s an absolute delight. And not having thought that I’d ever go back there, to go back into that world, is just – I get the chills. It’s just so much fun.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015.