Han Solo. Merely mention the name, especially to someone who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, and you’ll invoke many a memory. Harrison Ford as Han Solo was responsible for some of the most notable lines in all of Star Wars. From “I know” to “never tell me the odds” to “that’s not how the Force works” in Episode VII, Solo had a quip for everything. But even Ford had long ago thought Han’s character arc was limited. So what did it take for him to come back to Star Wars for The Rise of Skywalker?
But let’s back up for a moment before we get to that. Harrison Ford had originally wanted Han Solo to die at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. That, of course and thankfully, didn’t happen. Ford would not only go on to star in Return of the Jedi, but would reprise the role again in The Force Awakens. It was then that Solo would finally meet his fate.
Why Harrison Ford returned to Star Wars
“I figured that his utility has been exhausted, bled out,” Ford said of the Han Solo story line in The Fore Awakens. “And I was willing to die for the cause. To bring some gravitas.”
Bring some gravitas, he did. Han’s death scene was among the most jarring of the entire franchise. So that was it for Harrison Ford, right? Not so fast.
“You know, no good deed goes unpunished,” Ford quipped in reference to his sacrifice in The Force Awakens. J. J. Abrams, a few years later, approached him about returning to appear in The Rise of Skywalker. The director reached out to Ford and basically said “I think this is a good idea… and I want you to do it.” When Kimmel asked Ford if he believes Abrams when he says something like that, Ford responded simply “don’t you?”
Harrison Ford thus returned to Star Wars…. And Han Solo ended up being pivotal to Kylo Ren’s story arc in The Rise of Skywalker. The rest, as they say, is history.