The Star Wars films have been a huge influence on pop culture ever since they originally hit the big screen. Even now, years later, their popularity shows no sign of waning. The three prequels finally came out, which gave another generation an introduction to the franchise. And now J.J. Abrams has the reins and is charging full ahead with the filming of the sequels, which brings together many of the original cast members.
But it almost didn’t happen.
Harrison Ford is widely respected as an actor with great instincts, but his own view on the films was pretty short-sighted, according to a recent interview with Star Wars creator George Lucas.
According to an interview with Deadline, Lucas says Harrison Ford wanted to kill off Han Solo way bak in The Empire Strikes Back.
“Harrison kept yelling through the whole thing, ‘Kill me! Kill me! Kill me!'” Lucas told Deadline.
Maybe Ford wanted a great screen death at the hands of Darth Vader. Maybe he was just tired of saying some of the inane dialogue that ran rampant throughout the Star Wars films.
In any case, Lucas was having none of it.
“I said, ‘Harrison, I can’t kill you. I need you at the end of the next movie. There’s this love thing going on. But I’ll do the next best thing. I’ll put you in a slab of concrete and ship you off to Mars’.”
Lucas was referring to the plot line of encasing Han Solo in a slab of carbonate and sending him to Tatooine to become a prized possession in the home of gangster Jabba the Hutt.
Lucas had already laid the groundwork for his “love thing going on” between Solo and Princess Leia in the iconic “I love you … I know” scene between the two characters.
Between the original “New Hope” installment and “Empire”, Ford’s star had risen considerably. Perhaps he thought he stood a better shot at good films to choose from if he were disengaged from Star Wars. But soon to follow were the Indian Jones movies, another Star Wars installment with “Return of the Jedi”, and dozens of other great films.
Ford had done a handful of TV roles, and a bit in American Graffiti — also a Lucas film — before Star Wars. But for most people, the beginning of Ford’s rise was Star Wars.
Now fans are looking forward to seeing Han Solo again in the new sequels. But to think, it almost didn’t happen.
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