Harrison Ford. What more is there to say? The man is a living legend who has portrayed some of the most iconic and popular characters in all of movie history. Now he’s returned to one of them for the first time in 32 years as he once again plays Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a role that many fans never, ever thought he would take up again - until director J.J. Abrams convinced him otherwise.
Ford doesn’t look back much, but rejoining the Star Wars universe seems to have filled him, at least temporarily, with a new affection for his famous Corellian smuggler and for the millions of fans who have adored Han for all these years. We know very little about what his contribution to the new movie’s plot is (the film was not screened for press before the recent round of interviews), but it’s sure to be memorable - as was our all-too-quick chat with the celebrated actor.
How has this whole experience been for you - re-embracing this role, re-embracing these fans and having them shower you with so much love?
It’s better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish. It’s been gratifying. I’m delighted to be involved once again and to be part of this enterprise which has made a big difference in my life 30 years ago.
Your early career was sort of defined by Han and Indy - that’s what people knew you for - and then you went on to a much larger body of work after that. Having that body of work and not being solely defined by those roles, does that make it easier to come back again?
Well, I never felt confined by these roles. When the first Star Wars came out, I took advantage of that success to do a couple of films where I -- I immediately went to work doing different kinds of things and it had always been my ambition to make different kinds of films for different audiences, play different kinds of characters, (be in) different genres of films. And it was really the success of the first Star Wars film that gave me the opportunity to do that, so I never felt confined by the role.
How important was it to you that Han not just walk through and wave, but have a meaningful, crucial part in the story in this one?
Very important. I wouldn’t show up just to wave at the crowd. I was here to help portray a character that had a key part in the story to tell.
How has Han changed since we last saw him? Is he still a scoundrel, has he mellowed with age, where is he at?
He’s older. Maybe a little bit wiser. He’s had more experience. There’ll be - the film will reveal details of his history which you may find interesting, and which you have the expectation might change him to a degree.
Working with the younger actors, did you feel like part of a team or did you feel like more of a mentor?
No, I felt like part of a machine, a team. I’m just part of what makes these films work. And these new young actors are extraordinarily talented, their parts are very interesting and the way they have done their work and the way J.J. has used their work, I think is going to be very interesting for the audience and very exciting for them.
Coming up Next: Exclusive J.J. Abrams Interview For Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The film is directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens releases in theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.