Harrison Ford is one of the most successful actors of all-time, and perhaps his most notable role (among many) is as Han Solo in the Star Wars film series. He starred in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, and he returned to the role decades later in 2015’s The Force Awakens.
Ford’s character has routinely been ranked among the very best in the Star Wars galaxy, typically vying for the top spot with Darth Vader (with the other taking second place). So with no room for Solo’s story to move forward in the current trilogy (since he was killed in TFA), Lucasfilm has gone ahead with a Solo prequel – an idea that has been around for a while, including with George Lucas.
That film releases next week, and it stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo. And as he was busy doing press in a recent interview, he was surprised by Harrison Ford himself.
Ehrenreich was discussing the advice that Ford had given him about preparing for the role – Ford told him that if anyone asked, tell them that Ford had told Ehrenreich everything he needed to know, but that he wasn’t allowed to tell anyone – when the interviewer said that he might want to say one or two more things as Ford walked out and stood beside Ehrenreich, surprising him. “You’re shitting me!” Ehrenreich exclaimed, as Ford joked, “get out of my chair! … Get out of my life!”
You can see the wonderful moment here:
And then Star Wars also tweeted out amazing photos of Ford and Ehrenreich talking in a hallway:
Based on what we’ve seen so far, Ehrenreich looks like a very good and believable Han Solo, and Harrison Ford agrees. According to Entertainment Today, Ford was filled with praise:
The 75-year-old actor explained to ET that Solo started with “a fantastic idea” and “a great script” before going on to explain that everyone was cast very well, but Ehrenreich especially so.
“I just thought it was spectacular, and I thought he was so smart about what he did and how he did it,” Ford said. “I just couldn’t be happier.”
ET also quoted director Ron Howard discussing Ford’s impression of the film:
“I have to say, I’ve known Harrison a long time. He can be great, he can be supportive. He’s never effusive,” the 64-year-old director said. “And he was so behind it and into it and loved what Alden did. So, I let Alden know that, but I would never even say that to the world, because you don’t speak for Harrison Ford.”
And io9 had this quote from Ehrenreich about how Ford liked it:
He was so effusive about the movie and it meant so much to me and I know for Ron [Howard] and [Kathleen Kennedy] and everybody. It’s just such a huge deal to have him really genuinely love it. He really genuinely enjoyed the film and it meant a lot to me that he took the time to come out here and do that.
Harrison Ford’s praise for the Solo film and Ehrenreich’s performance carry a lot of weight, coming from the iconic actor who had just as big of a role in creating the iconic character as George Lucas and Larry Kasdan did. So considering that Kasdan co-wrote the script, that Lucas visited the set, and that Ford gave pointers and is thrilled with the final product, there seems to be a lot of reason for optimism.
Of course, Harrison Ford will always be Han Solo. But Ehrenreich isn’t playing Harrison Ford, he’s playing Han Solo – and it seems like he’s done a good job at that. Ford’s praise is just the latest indication of it.