If fans were worried about the delay in the Solo: A Star Wars Story marketing rollout, it’s time to relax, because it’s here in full force (no pun intended). Fresh off the reveal of the first trailer (and images and posters), Lucasfilm is going HAM on the Solo campaign with an EW cover story full of official interviews and new details. One such new nugget of information is the confirmation that the OG Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, quietly advised Alden Ehrenreich on his approach to the iconic character.
Ford is famously ambivalent and sometimes curmudgeonly about his Star Wars fame and generally speaking would rather just not talk about it, thank you very much. His on-the-record statements about the Han Solo origin story have been characteristically disinterested — “Let’s make them responsible for those questions you might think to ask me because I‘m not involved,” he told Reuters in 2015. However, the actor was spotted dining with Ehrenreich ahead of production early last year and EW has some details on the insight he contributed to the new film.
Don’t expect to hear the information from Ehrenreich himself. The young actor says Ford began by advising him, “Tell them I told you everything you needed to know, and that you can’t tell anyone.” Ehrenreich explained, “I gotta stick to my orders from the man himself.”
However, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy offered a bit more detail on the insight Ford offered, from one actor to another.
“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.”
Director Ron Howard took the helm of Solo after original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller departed the project over creative differences, and it seems Ford was game to pop back in with a bit of advice for the newly onboard filmmaker. Howard says,
“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 connection with people and struggled with it at the same time. I thought that was pretty interesting.”
“’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.”
So there you have it. Though Ford isn’t officially involved in the new Han Solo movie, and probably won’t be gushing about it in interviews any time soon, he did play a part in shaping the new take on his iconic character.