In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview with Kathleen Kennedy the president of LucasFilm gave us an little insight of the return of Han Solo. “The minute Harrison and Chewie walked on board the Millennium Falcon — that was incredible. Every single person on the set was stunned. I remember turning around, and there must have been 200 people gathered behind me — completely quiet. I didn’t even know they were there. The whole crew had stopped working, staring at the monitor, because it was so iconic.”
Kennedy also explained it was a great feeling for Ford also.
“Harrison was going through his own experience, finding that place for himself again, to return to something that had been so much a part of his identity and acting career. It was his own little personal journey, but once he got there, it was amazing. I mean, he was Han Solo again. That’s why everybody else got so quiet! They were like, ‘Oh my God, he’s back!’”
JJ Abrams also spoke of the on site accident, which Ford had had while on set.
“It was obviously a horrible experience that I wish had never happened for obvious reasons. But the truth is, once we knew that Harrison was going to be okay, we all realized this was this greatest gift to the movie, and I would think that any filmmaker would say, ‘If I could get a break after a month of shooting, for a few weeks, to recalibrate, I would take it.’”
Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan were able to use downtime to rewrite scenes and “reshoot some footage that they weren’t happy with.” Abrams also considered changing scenes in order for Ford to be able to sit more, but they soon realized that that it would not be necessary. Abrams explained:
“It wasn’t something that we knew for a little while. When it became clear that he was going to be just fine, we realized we didn’t need to change that at all. In fact, there are some places where he’s more active than he was prior to the accident. As you’ll see in the movie, he is running and doing more physical activity in this movie than I think anyone who knows he was injured would expect. Nothing was adjusted or lessened because of that accident. Even for Harrison, who is famously resilient and strong, he blew everyone’s minds.”