J.J. Abrams Offers Advice to Young Han Solo, Reacts to ‘Force Awakens’ Success

J.J. Abrams Star Wars Episode VIII
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SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains spoilers from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Do not read ahead if you have not yet seen the movie and want to remain unspoiled for major plot points.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has made more than $800 million domestically since its Dec. 18 release (making it the first film ever to do so), and is rapidly approaching $2 billion worldwide, but director J.J. Abrams says he’s more pleased with the experience of moviegoers than the box office success.

“I’m just incredibly relieved that the movie’s out and it was well-received, and I’m more excited when I hear that people went to see the movie with their parents who took them to see the original movie when they were kids, or who took their own kids who maybe had never seen a ‘Star Wars’ movie and who fell in love with Rey [Daisy Ridley] or found Finn [John Boyega] to be someone that they wanted to be for Halloween,” Abrams said on Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., where he was on a panel for “Roadies,” his upcoming Showtime series with Cameron Crowe. “Those kinds of stories are frankly infinitely more impactful and gratifying than all the numbers — which are wonderful, and I’m very grateful to everyone who went to see the film, but it’s mostly exciting to hear that people actually went and had the experience.”

Speaking to a group of reporters, including Variety, Abrams was asked, “Did it kill you to kill Harrison Ford?” to which he replied: “First of all, I didn’t kill Harrison Ford, just for the record.”

Following up from his joke (which may have hit a nerve, given Ford’s injury on set during filming), Abrams justified the decision to kill Ford’s iconic Han Solo in the most recent “Star Wars” installment. “We knew we needed to do something that was bold and maybe unexpected,” he said.

In a moment speaking solely with Variety, Abrams was asked if he had an opinion on our recent report on the shortlist of actors being considered for the young Han Solo spinoff, published yesterday. (Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort are among the actors being considered for the film, which will be released in 2018.)

“Nope. I wish I had something to say, but I don’t,” Abrams said, noting that he was not familiar with the Variety article. “I haven’t turned my attention to that.”

While Abrams — who has no involvement in the upcoming Han Solo standalone film, which is being directed by “21 Jump Street” helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller — didn’t offer his top pick for the actor who should tackle the younger iteration of the character made famous by Ford, he offered some wry advice for whoever lands the role of a lifetime.

“Watch ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ Abrams said. “It’ll all be right there.”

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  1. Leo says:

    Anthony Ingruber already done perfect impressions of both Indy and Solo and played a convincing young Ford in Age of Adaline. Isn’t that proof enough he is the perfect guy for the role.

  2. Mark says:

    It wasn’t that Solo was killed off that hurt, it was the way it as telegraphed. The moment Solo gave Chewie the detonator I knew what as next. At that point, the emotional impact at the death of a character I’ve loved since I was a child was lost, for me at least. It should have made me weep I also wonder whether such a beloved character, one of the orginals no less, should have Ben given an onscreen funeral befitting the character to allow fans to ‘grieve’ his loss. I loved the movie, but wished more thought was given to the big event

    • Mark says:

      Sorry for the typos … Big fingers and small phone. That should have said: “I knew what WAS next” and: “should have BEEN given on onscreen funeral”

  3. Ttumoocow says:

    “their own kids who maybe had never seen a ‘Star Wars’ movie and who fell in love with Rey [Daisy Ridley] or found Finn [John Boyega] to be someone that they wanted to be for Halloween,” — Does Mr. Abrams think that all children who went to see this movie are boys?

  4. Chizz says:

    Killing Han Solo is bold? You have to be kidding…. it was an obvious contractual ploy to appease Ford and let him have this movie while saving the Luke stuff for the next one, as well as echo the death of Obi-wan in the original. Bold would be not copying the framework of the original beat for beat and do something new, but that will never happen because it might get in the way of the profits.

    • manofredearth says:

      Yawn. Tired old criticism is tired and old. We’ve heard the minority of viewers screaming this stupidity from the rooftops. Get over yourselves. It’s a crazy success and you’re in the bottom 10% yet take up 90% of most comments sections. Talk about whiny, entitled spoil-sports.

      • NathanR says:

        Chizz, get a clue!…Harrison Ford had been trying to kill off Han Solo since Empire Strikes Back, so JJ Abrams probably worked with him and found a way to finally make it happen. I was 6 when the original Star Wars came out and absolutely love the new movie. Ford will be 74 years old this year, so having Solo die in this movie was a natural, totally unexpected and MAJOR BUMMER of an occurrence. If your that bent out of shape about it…quit watching the movies and disappear! You won’t be missed by the legions of remaining Star Wars fans that can’t wait for the next one to come out.

      • Largo says:

        When 90 percent of everyone believe in a stupid idea, it’s still stupid. Get over yourself.

  5. MikaG says:

    Anthony Ingruber for Han Solo please. Those boyband celebrities in the list don’t deserve the role.

  6. Bill says:

    I suspect Han Solo is as dead as any other main character in the “Star Wars” universe is; who knows whether someone was hanging out at the bottom of the Death Star shaft the way Luke was rescued at the end of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

    Regardless, all we know is what we’ve been shown until the next film is released.

  7. Buddy Ackerman says:

    Or be a boy to fall in love with Rey, romantically or – as I assume Abrams means – otherwise?

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