The release of Star Wars captivated audiences around the world in 1977. Today, things are no different. The Star Wars trilogies are fan favourites for a reason, filled with imaginative storylines, action and drama, and intriguing characters.
Han Solo is many fans’ favourite character (unless they opt for the dark side and choose Darth Vader, of course). Harrison Ford portrays Han’s cool cockiness effortlessly, and for many fans, he is Star Wars. We’ve rounded up 17 facts in honour of Harrison Ford and his iconic role of Han Solo, along with eye-opening behind the scenes photos from the films—don’t everyone thank us at once.
1. Han Solo was frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back partly because the producers were unsure whether Harrison Ford would return in the next film. He wasn’t yet signed on for Return of the Jedi.
2. Harrison Ford was paid $10,000 for Star Wars in 1977. That would be about $39,247.19 today.
3. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were still drunk from partying with the Rolling Stones when they filmed the Cloud City landing in The Empire Strikes Back.
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4. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo was scripted to say “I love you, too” to Princess Leia, but Harrison Ford thought it wasn’t in character for Han Solo. Instead, he ad-libbed the famous “I know.”
5. Harrison Ford was a stagehand for The Doors. About quitting, he said ”I couldn’t keep up with those guys. It was too much.”
6. There is a (non-canon) Star Wars comic called Into the Great Unknown in which Han Solo and Chewbacca crash into Earth after using Hyperspace blindly. Native Americans kill Han, and his body is discovered by Indiana Jones 126 years later while searching for Sasquatch—which turns out to be Chewbacca.
7. There was a silent film actor named Harrison Ford, whose last movie was in 1932. To avoid confusion, modern-day Harrison Ford was billed as Harrison J. Ford until 1970 despite not actually having a middle name.
8. Harrison Ford found Han Solo boring and advocated killing him off while filming Return of the Jedi. George Lucas denied his request, saying “dead Han toys” wouldn’t sell.
9. Harrison Ford is a private pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He owns a helicopter and uses it to save lives in search and rescue missions.
10. Han Solo was originally supposed to appear in Star Wars: Episode III living among the wookies on Kashyyk.
11. Harrison Ford is an environmental activist, and has inspired the scientific names of both an ant (Pheidole harrisonfordi) and spider (Calponia harrisonfordi) species. Ford was also asked to name a new species of butterfly, which he named after his daughter, Georgia.
12. When asked who shot first, Harrison Ford once replied “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
13. Harrison Ford narrated the original trailer for The Empire Strikes Back, out of character.
14. George Lucas considered both Christopher Walken and Nick Nolte for the role of Han Solo.
15. Harrison Ford’s ex-wife, Melissa Mathison, wrote the screenplay for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He played the school principal in the film, which got cut.
16. Harrison Ford is good friends with Bill Clinton.
17. Before becoming an actor, Harrison Ford worked as a self-taught carpenter. He was hired by George Lucas to build cabinets and ended up scoring a role in American Graffiti—the rest is history.
Which of these facts surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, check out the list of amazing facts we’ve rounded up about Harrison Ford’s role as Indiana Jones.