Besides George Lucas, there isn't really anybody that knows Han Solo like Harrison Ford. It has just been revealed that he passed down some knowledge of the iconic character to Alden Ehrenreich and director Ron Howard for Solo. Ford first portrayed the smuggler in 1977's A New Hope, and appeared in the rest of the original trilogy before returning in 2015 for The Force Awakens, his final turn. So who better to pass on some advice Harrison Ford was not brought on as an official member of the Solo team, but he provided invaluable information to the leading man and his director.
When Solo: A Star Wars Story was first announced, Harrison Ford went out to lunch with Alden Ehrenreich to discuss playing the role of Han Solo. The two discussed the best way to approach the character as a younger man. In a new interview, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy recalled how helpful Harrison Ford was to getting the project off of the ground. She explains.
"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 (Lucas) 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."
Pulling off Solo: A Star Wars Story was not an easy task for anybody involved, except for Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian) who says that he was excited to just play a part and be able to go home without writing, directing, or coming up with some music. Alden Ehrenreich obviously had the toughest job, which has really just begun since the public only has about 2 minutes of footage to judge him on. A lot of hardcore Star Wars fans are already judging the actor from what they've seen in the trailer and some are more complimentary than others.
Another person who walked into a tough gig was director Ron Howard who came in after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired. Howard was also able to call on Harrison Ford for advice in what direction to take the movie. The director says that Ford focused on the Han Solo character being an orphan, struggling for human connection while simultaneously pushing it away. Howard had this to say.
"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."
Harrison Ford's involvement in Solo: A Star Wars Story should be reassuring to Star Wars fans who have been looking for any way to tear apart the movie before even seeing one second of official footage. Ford did a lot in his life to separate himself from Han Solo, so in addition to coming back for The Force Awakens, it's equally as cool to hear that he was a voice of guidance on the project. You can read the rest of the interview detailing Harrison Ford's role on Solo: A Star Wars Story over at Entertainment Weekly.