Shortly after the Disney acquisition of LucasFilm, and the subsequent announcement of the continuation of the Star Wars saga with Episode VII, several rumors began to fly around that the original cast would be willing to star in the next chapter. As of Friday, Harrison Ford was rumored to have signed on to reprise his role as the one-and-only Han Solo. There have been several different opinions circling the announcement, but I maintain that this is one of the most important plays made by Disney yet, not only for the franchise, but for the fans as well.
What does it mean for the franchise?
First off, I doubt it is any secret that Harrison Ford loathed Star Wars. He has been quoted saying that he found the character of Han Solo to be bland and boring, and that George Lucas was worried more about toy sales than character and plot development. He even advocated for the death of Han Solo in Return of
the Jedi. I bring all this up to say, that despite the fact that he may hate the
movies and he may hate his character, he’s still considering coming back to complete Han’s story. Maybe it’s for the money, maybe it’s for all of his grandkids who are surely fans, but that’s not what matters. What matters is that his return paves the way for the rest of the original cast to return as well. With Harrison Ford back, other cast members like Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Peter Mayhew are all pretty much guaranteed to be in Episode VII as well, and that’s great for the Star Wars franchise because that makes the fans happy. And if the fans are happy, then we don’t riot and burn DisneyLand to the ground…
What does it mean for us?
This news is great for fans for a lot of reasons. First, more Han Solo. More specifically, more Harrison Ford as Han Solo, arguably one of his greatest roles. Second, no recasting. I have no desire to ever see another human being play Han Solo. Harrison Ford has been the only Han Solo for 36 years, and he should ALWAYS be the only Han Solo. Among the many rumors flying about, there has been talk of a Young Han Solo spinoff. Why? Why does this need to happen? In A New Hope Han Solo is 29 years old, if they were going to make him younger, would that make him a teenager? If he’s a teenager, he’s not a smuggler, then there’s no movie. It shouldn’t be done unless it’s an animated movie*, because then the character could still look like Harrison Ford, and they could hire a voice actor that sounded similar… But that’s another argument for another time. The last reason why it’s important to fans is, like I said before, it makes us happy. Having the original cast, even if their characters are barely present in the film, is incredibly important. It continues the story of characters we loved and grew up with as kids. It proves that even 30 years later Star Wars is still an amazing piece of cinema capable of bringing together generations of nerds, young and old… Even if that old man hates everything about Star Wars and swore to be done with Han forever.
Also, I really just want to see a cranky old Han Solo yelling at kids to get off his lawn while he and an old graying Chewy sit on their porch drinking beer.
*The only way I’d be okay with a live action Young Han Solo movie would be if he was played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and they used the same technique as the did in Looper to make him look and sound like Bruce Willis. If that was to happen, I’m sold.