How The Millennium Falcon Set Almost Killed Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Those who followed the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens likely have clear memories of the time Harrison Ford was injured on the set. In June of 2014, in the middle of the film’s shoot, the then 71-year-old Ford badly injured his ankle and broke his leg on set at Pinewood Studios in the U.K.. Ford, it was reported at the time, was injured when the door of the Millennium Falcon set closed on the appendages in question.

Ford’s injury required director J.J. Abrams to reset the filming schedule and film Ford’s remaining scenes later than planned, although ultimately the film was finished on time, met its scheduled release date in December of 2015 and became the highest-gross film of all time at the domestic box office. Now, the circumstances of Ford’s injuries are being argued about in court - since it sounds like things could have turned our much, much worse.

According to a report in The Guardian, prosecutors in the U.K. alleged that Ford, or any other member of the crew who happened to have been in the door's path as it closed, could have been killed. For their part, the product entity involved - Disney-owned Foodles Production - has pled guilty to two health and safety breaches, claiming employee safety is the company's top priority while stating that they would contest the level of actual risk going forward.

Ford, according to the report, was injured after he walked on to the set, not believing that it was live, at which point the door hit him in the pelvis and knocked him down to the floor (before his leg was crushed). Prosecutors argued that the accident could have been fatal had an emergency stop not been pressed in time. The door had a weight comparable to that of “a small car,” a health and safety executive testified. Sentencing for Foodles is scheduled for August 22.

If nothing else, the story of Ford’s accident - along with the the horrific Midnight Rider incident from 2014 that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones - is an indication that safety on film sets still needs to be paramount. It likely hasn’t sunk in for most filmgoers that on the set of The Force Awakens, the world almost lost one of the most beloved actors in history (not beloved character - the actor playing him).

Of course, between the Millennium Falcon accident and his plane crash the following year — reportedly, somehow, the third plane crash Ford has survived — it's not outside the realm of possibility that Harrison Ford is quite literally immortal.

Harrison Ford probably won’t be in much of them, but the Star Wars slate is set: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

Source: The Guardian

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