LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11:  A prop of Han Solo in Carbonite is displayed at the Star Wars Identities exhibition at The O2 Arena on November 11, 2016 in London, England. Star Wars Identities is a brand new exhibition opening at The O2 on 18th of November 2016. For more information and tickets, visit  (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
George Lucas Solved A Star Wars Problem By Freezing Han Solo
Unlike the first movie of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Empire Strikes Back” featured a cliffhanger ending intended to leave viewers wanting more. While Harrison Ford’s Han Solo being captured and frozen in carbonite is a perfect example of high-stakes storytelling, George Lucas and director Irvin Kershner may have chosen this ending to ensure the actor would come back for the final entry.
Co-star Mark Hamill teased during an “Empire” press tour, “Look at what’s happening to Harrison. He wasn’t at all sure whether he wanted to repeat his role and he’s not at all committed to doing it a third time. So George has left him in limbo and given himself the option. Solo is not vital to future stories. It’s up to Harrison, I guess, as to whether Han comes back into the saga.”
Ford wouldn’t abandon his friend, as he owes his career in part to Lucas, who had cast him as Bob Falfa in “American Graffiti” before offering the actor this now-iconic role. Lucas and 20th Century Studios did a superb job of keeping moviegoers off-balance heading into “Return of the Jedi,” as screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan wisely drew out Solo’s recovery for a solid year.