Lucasfilm Had a ‘Big Debate’ With Disney’s Bob Iger Over Killing Off Han Solo
Han Solo’s death is the kind of cinematic moment you never forget. I certainly won’t forget the reaction of the theater I was in when I first saw The Force Awakens, the audible gasps and cries (one very loud one from my mom sitting beside me) when that dirtbag Kylo Ren pretended to give up the Dark Side then killed his pops just like that. No, that’s you tearing up thinking about Rey and Finn’s heartbroken reactions. Needless to say, killing off Harrison Ford’s beloved Star Wars character was a huge creative decision to make, and one that Lucasfilm consulted Disney for.
During a conversation at the Vanity Fair Summit in Los Angeles this week (h/t Polygon), Disney CEO Bob Iger told the magazine’s Nick Bilton about the decision to axe the iconic smuggler. Iger spoke about how much Disney takes fans into consideration when making major and minor creative decisions around their biggest properties. When talking about the aim to balance the legacy of the Star Wars franchise with the desire to introduce something new with The Force Awakens, Iger revealed that he was personally consulted by Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams over the Han Solo death decision:
We had a big debate about Han Solo, actually. Is that a beloved character, and should he die or not? Should we kill him off? You balance it. It was ultimately a decision made by Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams, and I got involved. You balance it with whatever elements of the story you feel are impactful.
Iger’s involvement is not all that surprising, especially considering that Abrams’ film was Disney’s first Star Wars movie since acquiring Lucasfilm and one that would set up the future of the franchise. But if plot decisions were already on the CEO’s desk for The Force Awakens, one can only imagine how far Iger’s involvement stretches with the Star Wars brand of late. With the exits of Colin Trevorrow from Episode IX, which Abrams is returning to helm, as well as Ron Howard taking over for Chris Lord and Phil Miller on the Han Solo movie, I’m sure there’s many decisions, big and small, being fielded by the CEO. Until we learn what those are, The Last Jedi will hit theaters December 15.
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