It isn’t often that an iconic film character returns decades after they last appeared onscreen, and when Harrison Ford first stepped aboard the Millennium Falcon for the filming of The Force Awakens, resurrecting Han Solo after three decades, the air was electric.
The incomparable moment took place at London’s Pinewood Studios, according to Entertainment Weekly. The location is hardly unused to hosting historic moments, as it has seen the filming of most of the James Bond series, as well as a fair share of the Harry Potter franchise, among others. Yet when Harrison Ford appeared for his first day of filming on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the moment was unique on another level, overpowering for all involved, including some of the major players in the Star Wars franchise, as Movieweb reports.
— Seroword (@Seroword) August 15, 2015
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was on hand to witness the return of Han Solo, and her recollection of that moment centers on an unexpected quality: namely, the total silence that descended upon the scene.
“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.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) August 15, 2015
It is no secret that Harrison Ford has felt a certain distaste for Solo, calling the character “dumb as a stump” and publicly expressing his joy at moving beyond the role, as the Inquisitr has previously noted. When he stepped back onstage as the space smuggler, however, even Lawrence Kasden, who famously worked on the original Star Wars trilogy and the Indiana Jones series, felt the gravity of the moment.
“It was sort of surreal for everybody, and it wasn’t just Han, it wasn’t just Harrison. It was seeing all this stuff. 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.”
— Murad* (@muradcobanoglu) August 2, 2015
Ford wasn’t joined by his original trilogy compatriot Peter Mayhew during his first day back aboard the Falcon, as injuries have complicated fast movements for the seven-foot-tall actor. When Mayhew was reunited with Ford just before the start of filming, however, the bond between the two actors was tangible, as Kennedy recalled.
“I had no idea how close Peter and Harrison were. And when Harrison came into the room and Peter was sitting down, he just went over and gave him the biggest hug, and you could just see that there had been this incredible relationship between these two.”
Even though it took 32 years to transpire, Harrison Ford will return to the screen as Han Solo alongside his original Star Wars compatriots when The Force Awakens opens on December 18.
[Photo by Christopher Polk / Getty Images]