24 May 2010

Star Wars Fun: HARRISON FORD Goes 'Solo' For Two Good Reasons

The Empire Strikes Back,  revered by most (and all of us) as the greatest of the Star Wars movies, turned 30 last Friday, and the  Anniversary was celebrated by a gala event at Hollywood's ArcLight Cinemas.  Those of us who didn't make the guest list may have spent the weekend watching the original trilogy marathon on Spike TV, but the lucky dabblers who did (including Batman director Christopher Nolan and Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame) were on-hand to witness Han Solo's return to the Star Wars universe.

That may sound like it's not a big deal, but it is. Harrison Ford, one of Hollywood's preeminent actors, put any affiliation to Han Solo and Star Wars to a considered rest a long, long time ago.  Even the conscious distance that Leonard Nimoy kept between himself and Star Trek places a distant second to Ford and Star Wars.

In many ways, Ford's position on his old swashbuckling space pirate of a character - and the entire LucasFilm franchise - shouldn't be  a surprise to anybody.  Ford had pretty much given up on acting not long after American Graffiti and was working as a carpenter on a project at Francis Ford Coppola's office when George Lucas asked him to help run lines with actors who were auditioning for parts in a new outer-space fantasy film. Ford didn't seek out Star Wars; it found him. And despite the gigantic-enormous success of the first movie, he was the only one of Star Wars major players who declined signing a two-sequel deal with Lucas. For his own reasons, Ford was hesitant about his place in the Star Wars universe even back then. 
 -- Harrison Ford with his co-pilot Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca --
It does our fan-boy hearts good, though, to know that Harrison Ford (whose Han Solo is rated to be the second most popular Star Wars character after Darth Vader) did allow that Galaxy from far, far away to find him once again, even for one night. That Empire's 30th was also a fundraiser (and a very, very successful one, at that) for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital certainly helped to assure his attendance, even as his presence definitely kept the event's audience from racing off to the stars as much as they might have otherwise. 
Star Wars fans and those of Ford's other roles should all look forward to his next flick, director Jon Favreau's adaptation of yet another comic book property, Cowboys and Aliens. We totally are - and you can bet we'll be comicsblogging all about it in the near future. But for now, we're just having fun reliving a little of our past. If you do, too, take the time to read Geoff Boucher's most excellent and quite personal article on Harrison Ford and the Empire event [here].

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