Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the new ‘Star Wars’ movie Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told of how taken back she was by the return of Han Solo. His first ‘Star Wars’ appearance in 32 years.
Han and Chewies iconic return to the Millennium Falcon took place at Pinewood Studios just outside of London, which was a return home for ‘Star Wars’, which had originally filmed their during the 70s and 80s.
Kennedy admitted that she was taken back by the professionalism of the crew that worked there and the fact that they never seemed starstruck by the big names that frequent there, but this is something that changed during Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew’s scene on the Millennium Falcon.
“It was incredible,” she said. “Every single person on the set was stunned. I remember turning around, and there must have been 200 people gathered behind me — completely quiet. I didn’t even know they were there. The whole crew had stopped working, staring at the monitor, because it was so iconic.”
Even Lawrence Kasdan who worked with Ford on ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return Of The Jedi’ felt the power of the occasion.
“It was sort of surreal for everybody, and it wasn’t just Han, it wasn’t just Harrison. It was seeing all this stuff,” he says. “The Millennium Falcon has been a big part of my life, from Empire to Jedi to Force Awakens — and now I’ve written a movie about the young Han. So the Falcon has enormous resonance for me. And I don’t know if you can imagine what it would be like to watch things being shot on that set with those people.”
Shooting for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ wasn’t all this iconic. There were a few bumps and bruises along the way and when Harrison Ford broke his led in an accident involving the Falcon’s set. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for director J.J. Abrams and Writer Kasdan because it allowed them to rework a few things that they were not happy with.
“It was obviously a horrible experience that I wish had never happened for obvious reasons,” Abrams says now. “But the truth is, once we knew that Harrison was going to be okay, we all realized this was this greatest gift to the movie, and I would think that any filmmaker would say, ‘If I could get a break after a month of shooting, for a few weeks, to recalibrate, I would take it.’”
Of course there was concern over whether or not Harrison Ford could recover in time for his return to the set and plans were being discussed about changing scenes so that Han could be sat down, but luckily these plans were not needed.
“It wasn’t something that we knew for a little while. When it became clear that he was going to be just fine, we realized we didn’t need to change that at all,” Abrams says. “In fact, there are some places where he’s more active than he was prior to the accident. As you’ll see in the movie, he is running and doing more physical activity in this movie than I think anyone who knows he was injured would expect. Nothing was adjusted or lessened because of that accident. Even for Harrison, who is famously resilient and strong, he blew everyone’s minds.”
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will speed onto our cinema screens on December 19.