Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan isn’t responsible for creating the Star Wars saga so much as bringing it to life. A New York Times profile of the writer and his son, Jonathan, Kasdan details his early involvement, after being hired on The Empire Strikes Back. “I’ll tell you what we’re doing—you write it,” Lucas told him at the time. Had Kasdan been in full control of the story, however, the franchise would look much, much different. He also would never have written Solo: A Star Wars Story, the franchise spin-off he penned with Jonathan that opened this past weekend.
“I was for killing [Han Solo],” he says in the interview. “Empire didn’t seem like the right spot. I thought in Jedi, we’re closing off the trilogy. And we want to lose somebody important. It would give some stakes to this thing. And George did not like it.”
Harrison Ford, however, did. “I argued for Han Solo’s demise, because he wasn’t part of the bigger story,” Ford tells the Times. “And then [in The Force Awakens] they made him part of the bigger story, and then they killed him. Just when I thought I’d figured it out, they figured it out for me and retired my country ass.”
Kasdan reveals that writing Solo was hugely satisfying for him. Saying that he was initially resistant to the studio’s efforts to bring him back into the Star Wars universe, Kasdan found himself intrigued with the idea of a movie entirely about the character. “That was the only one that could possibly have gotten me,” he says of his decision to get involved with Lucasfilm’s latest slate of Star Wars flicks.
That said, with Solo in the can he’s ready to hang up his lightsaber. When asked whether Solo is his last go in the franchise, he offers a definitive “yes,” but adds, “I like this one so much. Who knows? But I do not want to do another.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ford implies that Kasdan wasn’t an Ewok fan, while Kasdan himself admits his ambivalence to the prequels. “I was at the first screening of The Phantom Menace,” he says. “And it was just so different that I didn’t really know what to make of it. It had no connection, in my mind, to what we had done. Your eyes are just like, what? How does this work?”
He also admits that, though he was initially annoyed at Ford’s improvised “I know” in response to Leia’s “I love you,” he now wishes he’d wrote it. Ford doesn’t buy it, though.
“Oh, that’s ridiculous. He’s still mad,” cracks Ford. “He wasn’t as mad as George was. But then, I had [director Irvin] Kershner to share the blame. I can’t apologize. I still think it was just a better line.” Hard to argue there.