With reporting by Josh Horowitz
Right now, the collective nerdiness of the world (galaxy, actually) is at full tilt because "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is zero lightyears away from blasting into theaters.
We at MTV News have been proudly wielding our lucky lightsabers, fawning over our fancy new BB-8 toys and relishing in the general geekitude of this time as much as anyone -- here or far, far away. So when we got the chance to get the 411 on the series' (re)awakening from Harrison Ford, aka Han Solo himself, you bet your Stormtrooper suit we used the Force.
MTV's Josh Horowitz sat down with the franchise icon to discuss his original thoughts about the series, asking if he was nervous to step into George Lucas' uniquely imaginative worldbuilding. Ford's basic response? "Nahhhh."
"I'd not only talked about it, but I had seen pictures," Ford explained. "I saw some of the early storyboards, sketches and such. So, I was aware that I wasn't working alone... I wrapped my head around that and went on because it's the job. I was glad to have a job."
Still, he did offer the writer-director some notes here and there -- especially when it came to the wordier bits of Lucas' script.
"It's part of the job of the actor to torture the director," Ford said. "I did say, 'George, you can type this sh-t but you cannot say it. Move your mouth while you're typing and see if you can say it.' I think it's still valuable advice." The one exception, of course, was anything that Chewie said (which, BTW, Ford doesn't think Han ever truly understood).
As for his most difficult line of the entire series, there's one that still gets him tongue-tied to this day. Ford paraphrased the sentence for added effect: "'It'll take a few minutes for the navi-computer to calculate the coordinates.'" Yeah, that's a toughie.
Ford also shed fascinating light on one of the most famous lines from "Empire Strikes Back" -- the one where Leia (Carrie Fisher) makes her declaration to Han with those three little words, and his response is simply, "I know." Turns out, you can give Ford total credit for that one.
"There weren't [alternatives]," he told us. Apparently, he and director Irvin Kershner -- "or 'Kersh' as we fondly called him" -- came up with the exchange to honor Han's true nature.
"We talked about it and I suggested that, since we were to believe it was the last time we were going to see him, let him go out the way we know him," Ford explained. "Let's remind people of who this schmuck is. If we're going to say goodbye, let's not leave in disguise. Let's own it."
Apparently, Lucas was surprised by the dialogue decision and was worried about how it would land with audiences.
"George said, 'What? You did what?' And in fact, he had a screening at the Northpoint Theater, which was his habit, in San Francisco, in which he obliged me to sit next to him so he could prove me wrong about that line," Ford explained. "It got a laugh, and he said, 'Got a laugh.' And I said, 'Yeah, but a laugh of recognition. There's laughs and there's laughs. That's not a bad laugh.'"
In more current news, Ford has a completely casual attitude about his leg injury on the set of "The Force Awakens," which delayed production while he underwent surgery to repair it. He insists it wasn't some kind of divine intervention telling him his return to the "Star Wars" world was a mistake. Instead, it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"What are you gonna do? That sh-t happens, and it was an accident," he said. "Nobody did it on purpose. We weren't shooting; I wasn't doing a stunt. I was just standing there talking to J.J. [Abrams] and the door came down and broke my leg."
Of course, Ford's tenure as Han Solo may not last forever, if more remakes and reboots come along. But as for his pearls of wisdom for the next actor (or actress?) who steps into Han's boots, Ford doesn't have any.
"The answer is, 'I don't know. You [gotta] figure it out for yourself,'" he said. "You can't imitate either somebody else's success or figure out what your own strengths are unless you depend on your own intuition, your own experience. Advice is tricky."