Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick shared the original script for the film on social media, which revealed Bill Murray’s cameo in the 2009 film was originally written for Mark Hamill.
Wernick tweeted that their first choice was Patrick Swayze, followed by Sylvester Stallone, and then Mark Hamill. The team hadn’t considered Murray because “We would have never in our wildest imagination thought we could get him.”
“Our fearless leader Gavin Polone called: ‘Fire up the Mark Hamill draft.’ We would not be deterred,” Wernick continued.
So a no-go on Swayze & @theslystallone. Our fearless leader @gavinpolone called: ‘Fire up the @hamillhimself draft.’ We would not be deterred. #BillMurray hadn’t yet been mentioned, for we would have never in our wildest imagination thought we could get him.
— Paul Wernick (@paulwernick) March 21, 2020
In the final cut of Zombieland, Bill Murray is killed by the team of zombie hunters (Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee, Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus, Emma Stone as Wichita, Abigail Breslin as Little Rock), confused for being a zombie.
But in the published first script, the team comes across Hamill’s home (“L’Mansion de Mark Hamill”), filled with Star Wars memorabilia.
Tallahassee recounts an incident that left a sour taste opposite the Luke Skywalker actor, that ended with Hamill threatening another encounter, saying he would “break his fucking face”.
A zombified version of Hamill then appears in the house, and brandishes Darth Vader’s lightsaber to fight Columbus. Tallahassee then takes a Sand People gaffi stick and starts a duel with Hamill.
Hamill never signed on to the Zombieland films, which is why the end product differs greatly.