If Lucasfilm was going to have a spinoff like Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s probably best that they gave Alden Ehrenreich all the tools needed to help him become Han Solo. And just like they helped Donald Glover to become Lando Calrissian by bringing in Billy Dee Williams, the original actor who first played the character, original Han Solo Harrison Ford stepped in to give some helpful advice to Ehrenreich, and all of the directors of the upcoming spinoff.
More on the story below.
EW spoke to both director Ron Howard and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy about bringing Ford into the creative process. In the early days of the spinoff’s pre-production, Ford told Ehrenreich to make this Han Solo his own and told him to talk to his directors and watch the movie. The latter seemed easier than the former, considering that previous directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were axed before the completion of the film.
But it appears that Ford was more hands-on than first thought. Here’s what Kennedy had to say:
“What [Ford] did so beautifully for Alden was he talked a lot about what he remembered when he first read Star Wars, and what George had done with Han. Who the character was and the conversations he had for so many years with George about how that character developed. He gave Alden that kind of insight which was invaluable. There were several times in the course of making the movie where Alden would actually recount some of the things that Harrison had pointed out. I think that was really, really helpful to him.”
But even after Lord and Miller’s departure, Ford continued to aid the project with all sorts of advice. And even gave some to the spinoff’s new director, Ron Howard. Howard said:
“Harrison’s a very thoughtful actor and an artist, and I wanted to know what he learned about the character. He said that Han is always torn between that sense that he was, in a way, an orphan, and therefore both yearned for the connection with people and struggled with it at the same time. I thought that was pretty interesting.”
Howard and Ford are no strangers, as the two starred together in 1973’s American Graffiti. A film directed by none other than George Lucas, four years before his original Star Wars arrived.
Though it would have been interesting to see a Han Solo film earlier and while Ford was still younger, it simply wasn’t in the cards. Now that Lucasfilm is exploring more of those untold stories in the Star Wars universe, we are getting a better sense of some of the origins of key characters. And Ford has been essential in aiding Howard in steering the title character’s spinoff in the right direction.
Recalling their conversation, Howard said:
“Han has survived and proven that he can survive, but he’s never sure he’s as quite as smart as he needs to be. Change that. He’s not really ‘smart.’ That’s not the word he used. Han’s not as on top of it as he needs to be. So he wants to give the appearance of [control], but in fact, he’s often scrambling. I think Harrison played that beautifully, and Alden and I talked about both of those ideas a lot.”
You can find out more about Ford’s involvement in shaping the young Han Solo over at EW.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25, 2018. Click right here for much more on the film.