It had been assumed by many that after the character’s heartwrenching final bow in The Force Awakens, that Harrison Ford was more than ready to part ways with the idea of Han Solo. The notoriously gruff actor has rarely tried to hide the ambivalence he feels toward performing as Solo and the Star Wars universe in general, but it seems that for the production of Solo: A Star Wars Story, he was roped in for one last position on the crew. Although not publicized during shooting, Ford served in secret as a “covert technical advisor” on the film, offering advice and perspective on the movie, which finally offers some backstory for the legendary rogue/smuggler. Ford also met with actor Alden Ehrenreich, who is playing a young Solo in the movie, and offered a few choice bits of advice, which Ehrenreich recounted to EW:
“He said a great thing when I met him. ‘Tell them I told you everything you needed to know, and that you can’t tell anyone.’…I wanted to meet him because I just felt generally it wouldn’t be right to do the movie without some kind of contact with him, and I’m really glad I did. He was very, very supportive. And it’s just cool to have lunch with Harrison Ford.”
Yep, that sounds pretty much like Harrison Ford, who also reportedly provided “vital insights into the character he has lived with, sometimes uncomfortably, for four decades.” To SlashFilm, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said she sent Ford a copy of the script, and that he approved of it.
“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,” Kennedy said. “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.”
Director Ron Howard likewise sought out Ford’s advice after original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were ignominiously fired. His quote in particular seems to offer what is perhaps Ford’s clearest insight into Han Solo:
“Harrison’s a very thoughtful actor and an artist, and I wanted to know what he learned about the character,” Howard said. “He said that Han is always torn between that sense that he was, in a way, an orphan, and therefore both yearned for connection with people and struggled with it at the same time. I thought that was pretty interesting.”