The creator of Star Wars was never happy with Harrison Ford’s ideas for Han Solo, even though they were good.
In the history of cinema, there are many memorable moments that arise from improvisation during filming. These improvisations always add a special touch to films, making them iconic and unforgettable moments. One of those moments can be seen in The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the original Star Wars Saga trilogy.
The Empire Strikes Back was in theaters in 1980, in the a pivotal moment in cinema history like American society. In the mid-1970s, the first Star Wars film, directed by George Lucas and released in 1977, shocked the entire world and became a full-fledged cultural phenomenon almost 50 years later. The original film brought it a new era of science fiction on the big screen and captivated audiences of all ages with its epic story and innovative visual technology.
However, despite the success of the first film, Lucas experienced some friction with the main cast during its realization. In particular, the creative differences with Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo, are remarkable. Lucas, a visionary director, has a specific vision for the Star Wars franchise, while Ford, like other actors, has his own ideas on how to develop his characters. The most famous example is, precisely, that Ford believes that The character of Han Solo must die at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, because he considered his narrative cycle complete, an idea that did not enter Lucas’s plans. But there is more.
The improvised moment: “I know”
Tensions between George Lucas and the main cast continued during the making of The Empire Strikes Back. Harrison Ford, in particular, had differences with Lucas on how to approach his unforgettable character, which is amazing culminating in one of the most beautiful scenes, although improvised, from the history of cinema.
In a key scene in the film, when Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer) tells Han Solo that she loves him before Solo is placed in a carbon freezer by Imperial soldiers, the script originally called for Han answer simply “I love you too”. However, on set, director Irvin Kershner and Harrison Ford decided that this line did not fit the rebellious personality of our favorite smuggler. During a lunch, Kershner asked Ford to try the scene again and simply. say what’s on your mind. That’s when Harrison Ford improvised the iconic response: “I know”. This answer perfectly captures the essence of Han Solo as a brave and confident character, and adds an added layer of emotional depth to the scene.
George Lucas, however, was initially unhappy with this improvised change. Seeing the scene in the new line of dialogue he expressed his dissatisfaction, arguing that This is not what was in the original script.. The creative differences and tensions on the set show themselves again. Lucas even considered holding two preview screenings of the film, one with an original line and one with an improvised line. However, the overall positive response convinced Lucas to stick with the iconic “I know” response in the film.