The 64-year-old star posted a video of himself on Twitter on Tuesday (30Aug16), showing him shaving off the beard he's been sporting as Luke in the new Star Wars films.

He was unshaven in his brief appearance in last year's (15) franchise rebooting sequel The Force Awakens and has been seen wearing the beard on the set of upcoming installment Episode VIII.

It was the caption below Mark's video that caught the eye of fans however, as it appeared to put to bed speculation his character, the main hero of the original Star Wars trilogy, would be killed off in the next film.

"Haven't seen my chin since May '15, so #FarewellFacialFur & #ByeByeBeard (at least til #EpisodeIX)," he wrote.

Star Wars devotees had previously been sent into a frenzy by comments from the actor which seemed to indicate he would play no part in Episode IX.

"I finish Episode VIII, and then I'm out of work," he reportedly told an audience at an event held by the Big Issue magazine in London.

The actor later clarified his comments, tweeting that he only meant filming on Episode VIII had wrapped, but didn't state whether he was still starring in the franchise.

Another one of the original trilogy's main heroes, Harrison Ford's charismatic space smuggler Han Solo, was shockingly killed off at the end of The Force Awakens

The intense secrecy around the plots of the films is one of the reasons any misplaced comments from its stars are snatched upon by fans.

Mark has also found himself frustrated by the secrecy around Star Wars but told USA Today that ultimately he agreed with its producers' attempts to closely guard plot details.

"They're not doing it to annoy you (fans), they just want the surprise to be in the movie theater, not the internet," he told USA Today. "It's for your viewing pleasure that we do this."

Star Wars: Episode VIII will hit cinemas next year (17), with Episode IX following in 2019.