Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is dividing fans and critics, but most audiences seem to be onboard with one of the film's true surprises: The return of a beloved character. Here's how J.J. Abrams made it happen.
SPOILERS: Do not read further if you have yet to see the movie. Seriously. Still here? Okay, but we warned ya...
Despite wishing George Lucas had killed Han Solo off in Return of the Jedi, Harrison Ford keeps coming back to one of his most iconic roles.
Ford got his wish in 2015's The Force Awakens, when his son -- Kylo Ren (AKA Ben Solo) -- ignited a crossguard lightsaber into him and watched his body plummet down a pit at Starkiller Base.
But Han Solo is back, thanks to one of Kylo Ren's very interactive memories, as Rise of Skywalker resurrects the character for one of the movie's most emotional scenes. You'd think it would be hard to convince Ford to reprise the role of everyone's favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder, but J.J. Abrams recently told Vanity Fair that no arms had to be twisted.
“Well, I called him and I said, ‘We want to have a scene in the film between Kylo Ren and his father, would you do it?’ And he said, ‘Okay,’” Abrams said. “It's not more interesting!”
As is often the case with Ford with any role, especially one has iconic as this, the actor needs to know how important the character is to the story before committing to it. Especially in light of Ford feeling that Solo served little to no purpose in the events of Return of the Jedi, once Luke and Company rescue him from Jabba's clutches.
“We had a meeting and talked about what it would be,” Abrams revealed.
“Harrison, who is one of the great people ever, and incredibly thoughtful about everything that he does, all he ever wants is to understand the utility of the character. 'What is my role?' It was about sitting with him and explaining what our intention was. We talked about it for quite a while, I sent him the pages. He got it, and of course, as you can see, he was wonderful.”
The Rise of Skywalker scene between father and son uses most of the same dialogue from their fateful encounter in Force Awakens, but with completely different tone and subtext, giving this new trilogy one of its most emotionally satisfying moments.
As Vanity Fair points out: Abrams told Ford it was vital "to have him be in that scene, to have Kylo get to dramatize the thing that he'd been playing some form of [in his head].” This was foreshadowed by a line earlier in the movie, when Rey tells Ren: “I see through the cracks in your mask. You’re haunted. You can’t stop seeing what you did to your father."