Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill were among the guests at the Star Wars Celebration 2017 panel in Orlando. At the 40th Anniversary Celebration Panel, hosted by Warwick Davis, LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy introduced George Lucas to the delight of the crowd assembled. Lucas stayed present throughout the panel, and was joined on stage by Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Hayden Christensen, and Billy Dee Williams. Following on from that, Mark Hamill took to the stage, and entertained the audience by engaging in discussion with Lucas over how difficult some lines were to say, and understand.
The best was yet to come, though; in his first appearance at a Star Wars Celebration, Harrison Ford then joined Lucas and Hamill, and the crowd went wild. “I’m surprised we managed to keep this a secret,” Davis quipped. “Given that you landed your plane on I-4.”
Davis then asked Ford to explain how his role on Star Wars came about. Describing it as “an incredible ride,” Ford revealed that after working with Lucas on American Graffiti, he then went back to work as a carpenter. While fitting a door for Francis Ford Coppola, Ford was advised that Lucas would be arriving for a meeting. Much to the amusement of fans at the Star Wars Celebration, Ford and Lucas’ versions of events differ from each other. Lucas had heard that Ford was advised to “wait upfront” for him, but Ford is adamant that he just happened to be working when Lucas arrived, with Richard Dreyfuss, for the aforementioned meeting. Whatever the truth to the tale, events snowballed from there and of course, Ford ended up cast as Han Solo.
“I was working, and I still am. Thank you very much,” Ford said to Lucas, before turning to the fans. “And thank you very much.”
Ford also joked with Lucas about his recent plane crash, with Lucas telling the crowd “I asked him ‘you know how to fly?‘” to which Ford then quipped: “I said fly, yeah. Land?”
The whole interview was a lighthearted, fun affair, and it was certainly great to see Ford joining in the celebrations. The actor also took time to praise Lucas for his work on the franchise:
“You can have the best cast in the world, but they have a story to tell. The story we have was more than sufficient; full of humor and emotion and conflict. It’s a brilliant invention of a mythology that has sustained interest for 40 years. Made up of whole cloth by George. An actor without a story to tell might as well go home. It was a brilliant opportunity for all.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. The panel at the Star Wars Celebration continues, with touching tributes to the late Carrie Fisher from Lucas, Kennedy, and Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd.