More stories about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” continue this week via the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly with a new story today going into Harrison Ford’s return to the role of Han Solo on the film. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy described the actor’s first day on the set and admits they didn’t get a lot of work done that day:
“The minute Harrison and Chewie walked on board the Millennium Falcon – that was incredible. 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.
Harrison was going through his own experience, finding that place for himself again, to return to something that had been so much a part of his identity and acting career. It was his own little personal journey, but once he got there, it was amazing. I mean, he was Han Solo again. That’s why everybody else got so quiet! They were like, ‘Oh my God, he’s back!’.
Ford then got to work in the role and had a good amount of it under his belt when of course disaster stuck – the door from the Millennium Falcon came loose and fell on the actor’s leg. It was a serious injury, leading to another one as director J.J. Abrams recently revealed he ruptured a vertebrae while trying to lift the door off of the actor’s leg and ended up wearing a back brace for a while.
Production was shut down temporarily and looking back Abrams says it was actually a blessing as it gave him and Lawrence Kasdan time to rewrite scenes and reshoot footage along with more time for the actors to rehearse:
“It was obviously a horrible experience that I wish had never happened for obvious reasons. 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.'”
He was also expecting to rewrite Harrison Ford’s scenes so they would involve less potential strain to Ford’s injured ankle, but that ultimately wasn’t necessary:
“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. 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… And he was so funny and warm and helpful to the young people, and generous with his old costars… I don’t know. It was kind of miraculous.”
Though Ford hasn’t been a fan of his own “Star Wars” legacy in past interviews, Kennedy said it was easy to get him back for this once he was told what they intended to do:
“I think what really got him excited was when he read the first draft, and he saw where we were going and what we were doing. He was immediately on board, and then he sat down and had a great conversation with J.J. and went through, in detail, what we were thinking about doing. And then, you know, Harrison – and I’ve always found this over the years with the Indiana Jones films we’ve all done together – he’s incredibly collaborative when it comes to story and developing his character, and really engaged in the process. And he was every bit that on this film. “
Abrams also dropped one little nugget of information – saying that the lack of surnames being mentioned so far for John Boyega and Daisy Ridley’s characters of Finn and Rey is a decision that has been “completely intentional.” He also says the name of Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma was inspired by the silver killer balls in Don Coscarelli’s 1979 cult classic “Phantasm”.
Finally, high-resolution version of the photos released the other day have gone online. Check those out below: