Ford was working as a carpenter before he landed this career-changing role, so it should come as no surprise that our man wasn’t very well-versed in sci-fi and walked away from reading that first script a little confounded. But even in that early form he did see the story’s heart and that it rested with the main characters. He said:
“I read the script and asked myself ‘can they really make a movie out of this?’ I had no idea how it would feel creating Han. What I did understand was the relation among the four characters I have mentioned … Han helps make everything contemporary, recognizably human, in a way. Anyway, it worked for a lot of people. I was just part of the equation George dreamed up.”
Can’t help but notice how he has that little dismissive “anyway, it worked for a lot of people,” as if he still didn’t understand the power of “Star Wars.”
It is interesting that he points out that his main job in the group dynamic was to make the story contemporary, which is very true, and the template that “Star Wars” has been chasing ever since. That’s such a delicate line to walk. Make it too contemporary and you get an instant rejection, like how a huge swath of the viewership made fun of the augmented bike gang in “The Book of Boba Fett.” Go too far in the other direction and all you’re left with is sci-fi/fantasy jargon.
Han Solo was what grounded the original trilogy and so much of that magic is due to Harrison Ford’s correct read on the character.