Joe Copeland was Mark Hamill's stand-in during the filming of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. While working at a gas station in the Yuma, Arizona, area during his school's spring break, Copeland was scouted by a member of the Jedi production team. The woman asked Copeland how tall he was and gave her a phone number if he was interested in being an extra for a film. Copeland was eventually selected from a pool of 250 Yuma-area residents to take on the job of stand-in for Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker during filming in the Arizona desert.
Copeland worked on scenes featuring the Battle of the Great Pit of Carkoon. His job required Copeland to take Hamill's place between takes as various props, such as full-sized desert skiffs, were moved into position; during these times, he had to put his arm around Carrie Fisher, playing a bikini-wearing Leia Organa. Copeland was surprised by her shortness and by how much makeup the actress was wearing, but he confessed that he had been enamored of the star since her first Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, in 1977. She told him, "don't get fresh."
Copeland later wrote about his experience on the set in the article "I Was Mark Hamill's Stand-In" for the magazine Starlog. Because the article was published before Jedi hit theaters, producer Howard G. Kazanjian chastised Copeland for violating a non-disclosure agreement. Still, Lucasfilm Ltd. did not take legal action against the stand-in.