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Was Han Solo stupid?

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I remember that Harrison Ford recently said Han was stupid.  I don't think of the character as stupid, but I think Ford may have played him as being stupid in some scenes.  Does this change the way we need to watch the movies?

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I don't think I've ever heard Harrison actually disparage the character. He'd likely still be a carpenter if not for Han Solo.

In old interviews he had issues with the dialog in Star Wars, and allegedly expressed a desire to tie George Lucas to a chair and make him say those lines!

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Why would an actor's view of a character dictate how I view the character? 

I am what all Jedi fear to become, and what all Sith wish to be. A GOD!

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 (Edited)

Haha I love the title of the thread. The best in a while. :)

As for the question... what JediZombie said.

真実

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He does get dumb in Return of the Jedi.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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 (Edited)

One can view Han Solo as "dumb" because he is selfish, loves money more than anything else and is quick to get into trouble easily when he could play it smarter (in some action scenes or even in some scenes with Leia). That's also what makes him cool somehow. But being cool does not mean being without flaws. I understand that an actor who plays someone like Han Solo would say that he does not view this character as a smart guy. The smart guy is Luke (see the scene when Luke is tempting Han with the reward). Solo gets smarter as the trilogy goes (both with his love interest and with his action plans. See the way he makes the Imperials out of the Bunker in ROTJ) but that's also what makes him look less cool.

Han "plays" the smart guy in Episode 4 to impress people around him. He is not really one. But he is reckless , lucky and knows how to shoot and fly.

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I'm not sure dumb is exactly the right word.  Impulsive, absolutely--he doesn't spend much time thinking about the consequences of his actions, like a "smart" character would.  He shoots, as it were, from the hip ;)

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Sluggo said:

I remember that Harrison Ford recently said Han was stupid.  I don't think of the character as stupid, but I think Ford may have played him as being stupid in some scenes.  Does this change the way we need to watch the movies?

 Han is plainly not the sharpest vibroblade in the space-drawer. Remember, he's a low level hood in hock to a drug lord. He's full of bluster, but follows Obi-Wan without question, never offers his own ideas, is easily persuaded by promise of reward, and is more than a bit immature.  He can't even sneak up on a scout trooper. 

While awesome, I'd agree Han ain't no genius.

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Why was I not notified that Sluggo came back?

The new forum software should include this option.

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Laserschwert said:

SilverWook said:

I don't think I've ever heard Harrison actually disparage the character.

Here you go:
http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/05/07/star-wars-episode-vii-harrison-ford-and-han-solo-bury-the-lightsaber-essay/

But whenever the conversation turned to his other cinematic rogue, Ford’s crooked smile tended to bend south and be punctuated with an eyeball roll. “He’s dumb as a stump,” the actor groaned.

 Interesting, but it clearly states that interview was conducted in 2008. And I think he's only comparing Han to the other roles he's played. Maybe he was thinking of Bob Falfa? ;)

Every actor who's played an iconic role seems to go through a period where they don't realize the impact that character has on people. Just ask William Shatner.

Peter Quill in Guardians of The Galaxy is very much a Han Solo type, except he does mature, and takes charge of the situation in a way Han didn't in the OT.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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1. Cool people are usually stupid.

2. Han Solo is really cool.

3. Therefore, Han Solo is most probably stupid.

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Stupid?  No.  Uneducated, Brash, Cocky.  (In my best Yoda voice)

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I tried to imagine Yoda saying "brash" and "cocky" and failed. Yoda would be ashamed of me.

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He was stupid for not paying back Jabba in 3 years and then after 3 years decided to leave rebels do pay him. I mean he must have been really stupid to think that after 3 years Jabba would just take the money and let him go.

真実

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I remember reading that interview a while ago and being really disappointed.  Even the people who made Star Wars have trouble seeing its greatness, it would seem.

Eventually I shrugged it off and said whatever, but it still kind of annoys me.  Given Mr. Ford's comments about wanting Han to have died in Return of the Jedi, I begin to strongly suspect that the only way they lured him back to make Episode 7 was to give him a suitable death for his character.

If that is the case, he might be happy about it, but I certainly won't be.

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hairy_hen said:

Given Mr. Ford's comments about wanting Han to have died in Return of the Jedi, I begin to strongly suspect that the only way they lured him back to make Episode 7 was to give him a suitable death for his character.

Nah, they won't kill Han; they'll just de-age him into Shia LaBoeuf. 

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hairy_hen said:

I remember reading that interview a while ago and being really disappointed.  Even the people who made Star Wars have trouble seeing its greatness, it would seem.

Eventually I shrugged it off and said whatever, but it still kind of annoys me.  Given Mr. Ford's comments about wanting Han to have died in Return of the Jedi, I begin to strongly suspect that the only way they lured him back to make Episode 7 was to give him a suitable death for his character.

If that is the case, he might be happy about it, but I certainly won't be.

 Ark of the Covenant stuffed full of money delivered to Harrison's house notwithstanding, they could have also promised Han is wiser, not just older now.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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hairy_hen said:

I remember reading that interview a while ago and being really disappointed.  Even the people who made Star Wars have trouble seeing its greatness, it would seem.

 I'm not certain that thinking the character is a not so bright necessarily translates as a slap against the movie.

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TheBoost said:

I'm not certain that thinking the character is a not so bright necessarily translates as a slap against the movie.

It's the interview as a whole, not that quote in particular. But I'm not sure it's a matter of Ford "not getting it", so much as being bitter at being personally tied to that character much, much longer than he would have preferred, with audiences (and interviewers) never ceasing to gush over it.

Heck, if I did fantastic work at a job I despised, and people couldn't stop talking to me, even decades later, about how great that job was, I'd do anything I could to change the subject too, including sounding like a bitter grumpy old man if that's what it took.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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 (Edited)

Thanks, frevious.  That was very helpful.

In the end, I decided not to care that much what Mr. Ford thinks of Han Solo.  But characterizing him as dumb just doesn't agree with what I see when I watch the films, and implying that the audience is foolish for enjoying the character is overly harsh and also kind of insulting.

He must have changed his tune at least somewhat to agree to appear in the new film at all.  Really, the money and being able to put an end to him at last are the only reasons I can think of for that to have happened.  Would the promise of increased wisdom alone have been enough?  I'm not sure . . .

Maybe I'm just overly influenced by Timothy Zahn's portrayal of Han, who makes him out to be very clever while still being a charming scoundrel.  Whatever the case, it's clear that the audience's vision of the character does not at all match that of the actor who played the part, which is somewhat disconcerting to say the least.

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Context is everything, and people do get tired of being asked the same stuff over and over again. Harrison's comments in the original making of ESB book made it sound like he was happy with Han's growth in that film. Jedi had to have felt like going backwards after that.

Just one grumpy old man moment can be immortalized in the press forever though. Sir Alec certainly had his.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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 (Edited)

Very true.  Many people in the press and the general public don't have any sense of boundaries when it comes to pestering an actor about a character they play, and the tiresome repetition of having to fend this off for years on end would surely sour anyone on it, even if they legitimately enjoyed something at the time it was first made.

Thinking back, I now remember hearing that he was at the 30th anniversary screening of Empire, which was after the conversation referenced in the article took place, and that he enjoyed seeing the film again for the first time in 30 years, so perhaps that put him on a path of beginning to think better of his character again?