Solo: A Star Wars Story has a big fan in none other than Harrison Ford. The living legend is synonymous with the character of Han Solo, portraying the smuggler four times in the franchise. Obviously, a younger actor was required to fill Ford's shoes for the spinoff/prequel, and a rather extensive search ended with Alden Ehrenreich securing the role. Without question, his performance is going to be highly scrutinized by fans, but fortunately early word is the youngster succeeds in doing the material justice.
Ehrenreich could be in the galaxy far, far away for the long haul with a Star Wars trilogy of his own (he signed the standard multi-picture deal), but that's ultimately going to come down to how well-received his turn is. While the jury's still out on how fans will respond to seeing a new thespian plan Han, Ehrenreich has secured perhaps his biggest and most important endorsement: Harrison Ford.
In a Variety feature on Solo and its production woes, there's an anecdote revealing Ford has already seen the movie twice and "adores" it. Director Ron Howard shared the actor's enthusiastic review with the outlet:
“I had never heard Harrison effusive about anything, and he was raving about it. He said, ‘Alden nailed it. He made it his own.’”
Ford infamously has a love-hate relationship with the Star Wars franchise. While he appreciated the opportunities A New Hope gave him in starting an acting career, he started to grow tired of Solo as the original trilogy wrapped up. He once said he was happy to see his Han costume for the last time and claimed the character wasn't very interesting to him. Even after making a triumphant return in The Force Awakens, Ford is content to never revisit the universe again even if there was a way to have Han return from the dead. That he was so positive about Solo is a surprising and eye-opening development. As Howard says, it's very rare for Ford to be so gung-ho about anything, so it's telling that the spinoff struck such a chord with him. Ford could have chosen to remain silent on the matter, but he went out of his way to call Howard to talk about it.
Fellow Star Wars icons Billy Dee Williams and Mark Hamill have also praised Solo, but Ford's vote of confidence probably means the most to all involved. There's no denying this was a daunting task to pull off, but if the typically curmudgeonly Ford was excited by what he saw, things certainly bode well for the spinoff when it opens later this week. Perhaps Ford's comments will even put some concerns about the project to rest.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019