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

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.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

  • "Birds of Prey" egg sandwich

    'Birds of Prey' Actor Bruno Oliver Recreates Harley Quinn's Famous Sandwich

    When actor Bruno Oliver booked the role of short order cook Sal in “Birds of Prey: (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” he had no idea how significant Sal and his breakfast sandwich were to the story. “You couldn’t tell from the audition necessarily and as actors, we always worry about our scenes [...]

  • Minyan

    'Minyan': Film Review

    Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch [...]

  • Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches

    Film New Roundup: Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches North American Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Queen’s Corgi” finds a home, the Overlook Film Festival is postponed and the California Film Commission adjusts its tax credit rules due to the coronavirus. ACQUISITION Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the animated family comedy feature “The Queen’s Corgi,” and plans to make it available on DVD and to [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content