Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted in theaters under an umbrella of stellar reviews and much love from long-time fans. But it didn't arrive without incident. And perhaps the most troubling aspect of the whole production was when actor Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as iconic space smuggler Han Solo, broke his leg on set. The production team behind The Force Awakens is now facing criminal charges over the ordeal.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn't very far into its production at Pinewood Studios when news broke that Harrison Ford had one of the Millennium Falcon's hydraulic doors come crashing down on his ankle. The incident put the 73 year-old actor out of commission for weeks, delaying his scenes. This caused quite a few headaches for the production team. But it doesn't sound like the trouble is over.
The UK's Health and Safety Executive informed Foodles Production (UK) Ltd today that it was being prosecuted over the incident. The company, based in Queen Caroline Street, London, is set to appear at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 12 May 2016 to face four charges. A spokesperson for HSE had this to say.
"HSE has today informed Foodles Production (UK) Ltd that it will be prosecuted over four alleged breaches of health and safety law. The charges relate to an incident during filming of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which left Harrison Ford with serious injuries after he was hit by a heavy hydraulic door. By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers - this is as true on a film set as a factory floor. We have investigated thoroughly and believe that we have sufficient evidence to bring the case to court."
Foodles Production (UK) Ltd was created for, and is the company responsible for producing, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And it was their responsibility to manage the risks created during production under health and safety law. The four separate violations claim that the production team did not take the reasonable steps required to protect its workers. You can read the four alleged breaches Here.
The hydraulic door that fell on Harrison Ford is being considered dangerous machinery. And it is stated that Foodles did not take the proper steps in ensuring no one would get hurt. The punishment for the offense has not been made clear, but it most likely will result in a steep fine. Hopefully, Star Wars: Episode VIII can avoid such accidents.