People often confuse my enthusiasm for Star Wars and over Sci-Fi films and television shows for an obsession for all things Sci-Fi. Not true. I have a hard time with a lot of Sci-Fi, but when one combines Sci-Fi and a sense of humor, I can eat that shit for breakfast every single day. Much of Sci-Fi is very doom and gloom and many franchises have older casts, who I have trouble getting really excited about, but Star Wars’ mostly young cast, mixed with the just the right amount of humor equals a cinematic ride that I never get tired of.
I got into Star Wars later than some. The first time my mom tried to get me and my brother to watch it, we didn’t even get to the Cantina scene. I didn’t know who Han Solo was until I was 12 years old and now he is one of my favorite characters of all time. I think I can pinpoint the moment I “became a woman” to when Han Solo usurped R2-D2 as my favorite character. It’s not just that it’s Harrison Ford at his hottest with a super sexy wardrobe (that vest! the little jacket he wears in Cloud City!), but the fact that he’s a rebel struggling with the fact that he’s found a cause and a group of people he can care about. Practically everyone in Hollywood tried out for the role of Han Solo including Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and Bill Murray! But Lucas finally went with Ford, despite originally being dead set against using an actor he had worked with before. I think what makes Ford an ideal Han Solo is the fact that he really wasn’t taking anything too seriously. This gives Solo a cocky but sweet vibe that is completely lovable. He purposely didn’t rehearse his line for the scene where he must stall over the intercom in the detention block so it would seem spontaneous. It’s such a fun, cute moment and it makes you realize how important it is to have the right cast.
One of the most disappointing experiences in my life was having to sit through the prequels. I think it was especially hard for me as a writer because I had spent years writing the prequels in my head and I liked mine better! I think the main issue is that Lucas didn’t really understand what made the first films magical in the first place. My husband recently hypothesized that the cast had more to do with the success of film than Lucas as a storyteller. He may have a point. The prequels were cast so differently, seeing that Lucas could handpick big names and didn’t seem concerned with how the individual actors worked together. Not knocking the cast of the prequels as actors, but casting is such an art form that is really under appreciated and if two actors lack chemistry and are then giving clunky dialogue, the audience isn’t going to care.
I recently made a Star Trek lover friend watch A New Hope for the first time and my favorite moment was when Princess Leia takes charge of her own rescue, grabbing a gun, shooting at the guards and leading the boys down the garbage shoot. My friend smiled and said “Ok, I see what you did there”. Leia is a great female character in a very male dominated world. She’s sarcastic and tough yet feminine. She’s beautiful and petite at 5’1, yet when she speaks, all the men around her better listen. She also was forced to wear some of the most extreme fashion in film history. Those buns! That bikini. Angelica Houston and Bernadette Peters were also up for the role , but it is clear that much of what made the character so fun was Fisher’s personality and sense of humor. So many females in Sci-Fi are either too much of a victim or to masculine, but Leia is the type of gal who will make fun of you, as you’re rescuing her.
Lucas based Han Solo on Francis Ford Coppola.