“[Harrison] Ford’s least expected late-career reprise was his return to the world of Star Wars. “I was surprised,” he concedes. The first call came from George Lucas. “It was proposed that I might make another appearance as Han Solo. And I think it was mentioned, even in the first call, that he would not survive. That’s something I’d been arguing for for some period of time”—Ford had unsuccessfully lobbied for Solo to die in Return of the Jedi in 1983—“so I said okay.”
Was that a necessity for you to be involved?
“Not necessarily. But it was, you know, an interesting development of the character.”
This year Ford attended his first Star Wars “Celebration” fan event, in commemoration of the first film’s 40th anniversary. “I was asked to make an appearance and I did,” he says, as though only the want of an invitation has kept him away until now. He appeared on a panel with Lucas, and I was surprised to watch Ford bring up his famous criticism of the director’s clunky dialogue right to his face: “You can type this shit, but you can’t say it.”
Lucas doesn’t get offended by that?
Ford laughs, as if this has never really crossed his mind. “I don’t think so. He sold the company for, you know, $4 billion. He doesn’t give a shit what I think.” Ford reminisces about the first time he shared this opinion on the Star Wars set. “George usually sits near a monitor, far removed, so I had to convey my impression…or my feelings…about the dialogue across a great space. So I did shout it. ‘George! You can type this shit, but you sure can’t say it! Move your mouth when you’re typing!’ But it was a joke, at the time. A stress-relieving joke.”
Reminder: Lucas wrote a treatment for Episode VII before leaving Lucasfilm, but only a few ideas remained.