Audiences around the world may have been shocked about the Han Solo’s death in The Force Awakens, but the actor who played him wasn’t. It’s no surprise to Star Wars fans that the death of Han Solo has been a long time coming, and actor Harrison Ford finally addressed the fateful scene in a sort of faux-Reddit AMA for Entertainment Weekly’s Tumblr earlier today.
“I think it’s a fitting use of the character,” Ford said in response to a fan’s question about Solo’s death. “I’ve been arguing for Han Solo to die for about 30 years, not because I was tired of him or because he’s boring, but his sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight.”
It was perhaps the only moment of sincerity during the Q&A session in which fans lobbed softballs at Ford like “If I have a party when I get The Force Awakens on DVD, will you come?” Or “Harrison, do you have any book recommendations?”
Ford originally wanted Solo to die in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, but his request was vetoed by former Star Wars mastermind George Lucas because Solo’s merchandising potential. If you’re not a Star Wars nerd who knows every single scene of every movie, just know that Han doesn’t have much to do in Return of the Jedi besides blowing up a shield generator on the forest moon of Endor.
In an infamous 2010 interview with critic Peter Travers, two years before The Force Awakens was even a possibility, Ford responded to Travers’s question about why Lucas kept Solo alive by glibly saying, “George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”
But Ford’s EW response seems legit. And it reinforced the thematic weight of Han’s final moment with son Kylo Ren, as The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams explained during a Q&A at the Writers Guild of America in December 2015.
“Star Wars had the greatest villain in cinema history. So, how you bring a new villain into that world is a very tricky thing,” Abrams said. “We knew we needed to do something fucking bold. The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters.”
We won’t lose him for much longer though. The standalone Han Solo movie, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, is set for release on May 25, 2018.
But you can check out Harrison Ford’s demise as Han one last time or over and over again when Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released on Digital HD for download on April 1 and on Blu-ray on April 5.