Harrison Ford's Long History of Hating Star Wars

Harrison Ford Hates Star Wars

While the world was watching Conan O'Brien's debut on TBS, David Letterman was having a pretty epic conversation with Harrison Ford, and yes, that galaxy far, far away came up. Every time there's even a remote possibility that I might have to interview Ford (it's never happened), I'm immediately immersed in an internal tug of war over the thought of bringing up my favorite movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back, in his presence. After watching Ford on Letterman last night, however, there's no way in hell I would ever broach that subject.

Ford HATES Talking About Star Wars
I've heard through the grapevine more than once that Ford is not a fan of the subject of Star Wars. I was told that before the 30th anniversary party for The Empire Strikes Back earlier this year, Ford was sarcastically trying to build excitement amongst people he would meet by promising, "The guy in the dog suit will be there." No matter how he really feels about the saga personally, there's no doubt whatsoever that he hates talking about it. Remember, even back in when he was filming the original Star Wars, Ford famously said, "George, you can type this sh*t, but you sure can't say it." So when watching Ford on Letterman sigh and say, "yeah, yeah," after Letterman called Star Wars "iconic," or Ford referring to his character as Ham Yoyo, that's not really an act.

I should note, after reading J.W. Rinzler's excellent The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, it's shocking how much Ford does care behind the scenes when he is on set. But even in earlier interviews, when Ford was promoting Return of the Jedi, he does everything he can possibly do to restrain himself from rolling his eyes when asked how much of Han Solo he takes home with him at night.

The First Time Letterman Mentioned Star Wars to Ford
It's funny to compare and contrast last night's Letterman interview with the first time these two met in 1982. Ford was promoting Blade Runner and after Letterman brought up Return of the Jedi, there was no cute, awkward banter between the two. Ford dodged the question and then, literally, jumped from his seat and left before the commercial break even started.

Did Harrison Ford Like Star Wars At Any Point?
Maybe this is video evidence of the last time Ford looked happy discussing Star Wars. Maybe, just maybe, the turning point for him was during this Today interview before the release of Empire. Perhaps Ford hit his breaking point while listening to Mark Hamill explain how he chose to play Luke in the first one versus how he played Luke in the sequel. Honestly, you can almost watch Ford transform in front of our eyes from a affable fellow to the grumpier version -- at least when Star Wars is brought up -- that we know today.

More 'Star Wars':


  • Scraps says:

    The great part about Letterman last night was he asked Ford who played Luke Skywalker and it was almost as if he had to think about it for a second before he said Mark Hamill.
    It's odd that he seems to have so much trouble with Star Wars. He spoke fondly of 'American Graffiti' on Letterman and obviously he still enjoys Indiana Jones because he just made Indy4. Both of those are part of the George Lucas empire. I guess it is the big dog suit.

  • Dimo says:

    Hey Mike, if you ever do interview him, just tell him how much you loved "Hanover Street" See how that goes for you.

  • Mike Ryan says:

    I will now have nightmares about this scenario. You know, I've never seen it. I feel that I should just to be a completest.

  • daveed says:

    Great compilation of videos, thanks. On the first one, I got the sense that Ford was more incredulous that Letterman asked who played Luke Skywalker.
    Also, bear in mind that guests on these late-night shows know exactly what the host is going to ask. I think Ford's supposed "discomfort" with SW is part of his celebrity persona. Otherwise, his PR people would just insist that it not be brought up in more benign and PR-congenial settings like the Letterman show.

  • I tried to interview him in a crowded room once - I threw three questions his way. He answered each with a one-word answer.
    As to his body of work, he should save his disgust for Indy 4 and Hollywood Homicide.

  • Ted says:

    Ford is one of the funniest interviews on TV because he seems to draw a blank on just about any question. Even a softball like "what's your favorite role?" he gets that panic look, like "oh shit, I hate snakes!"

  • Joseph says:

    Not to mention Conan dredging up The Holiday Special:

  • Wendy Scott says:

    It is interesting to watch the past interviews with Ford through the years - especially for us non-US residents. However, I often compare all the resulting fan brou-haha every time Ford doesn't give a "Star Wars is fabulous" reaction to someone who declares that they don't like Christmas!
    I was able to attend the thirtieth "ESB" charity screening in May and my personal belief is that if he really felt any intense dislike for the subject, then I have to seriously doubt that anyone, including "doing it for George", would have persuaded him to appear. Appear he did and much to the surprise of the fans, he watched the film with us and he also said that he'd recently rewatched "ANH" as prep for the evening. During the following Q&A, for me, it was clear that for Ford it was a job and although he acknowledges what "SW" did for his career, he appears completely bemused by the continued fandom. "SW" doesn't define his career or Harrison Ford and maybe it's about time we accepted that and moved on? Personally, I admire the fact that he remains true to himself with regard to his personal feelings towards "SW" and is not courting the media and internet fanboys by doing an about face.
    At the Q&A, he asked an excellent question by a youngster part of which was whether he watched "ESB" in 1980 with his own children; like all his answers, it was thoughtful and measured, but he ended his answer taking in the audience saying, "I suppose you could say that I've had thousands of children."

  • stevie says:

    Typical self-absorbed actor, thinking he's now light-years beyond the wonderful series that put him on the map. Where the hell would he be without George Lucas--still building sets for Z-grade movies, most likely.

  • bob walker says:

    Just remember that he is an ACTOR and maybe this is his personna. It was his first major role and maybe it was not his favorite. Yes George put him on the map. I liked Indy best.

  • whatever says:

    I think you read that wrong. He was shocked Letterman had to ask and his tone of voice when he replied "Mark Hamill" has a "duh" quality to it..

  • whatever says:

    Agreed. Scraps read it wrong.

  • syd says:

    he is funny. and i'd still hit it.

  • J.Cronholm says:

    Some random notes. "Hate" is a poor word to use to possibly describe "bored" or "annoyed." The recent Letterman appearance is well-staged; no bad blood there. Perhaps, Harrison Ford is not acting in real life; he may not be as confident live as his scripted and rehearsed fictional characters, and men often follows a personality arch where they may appear more bold and charismatic in their youth but more conservative and humble when coming of age.
    Particularly amusing is the interview where the reporter is pressing on about the Han Solo character and trying to pin it on Harrison Ford that he is Han Solo in real life, as if they don't understand that Captain James T Kirk is not really in charge of The Enterprise, and those pointy ears are not really Spock's ears - reminds me of many funny moments in the movie Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen.
    The older Letterman clip is interesting; Harrison is promoting Bladerunner but "here we go again" it is dismissed and instead he must talk about Star Wars instead. Imagine pouring your heart and soul into your relationship with your wife only to have your aunt bringing up your previous marriage at Thanksgiving and how wonderful your aunt though your ex-wife was. That's just rude. Or, perhaps Harrison just had a flight to catch and is more worried about missing his next engagement rather than waiting for the band to play.
    The fourth clip. On one side he is joined by a young man who may be inflating his importance and on the other side there is a young woman who wants to talk about money - very bad form. I see a man in his mid 30s surrounded by youth in their 20s. That's all.
    There is no hatred here.

  • cobalt says:

    He never looks all that happy to be talking to folks and even when he seems happy he's really gruff. I guess it's what makes him so good at tough guy roles he's just a natural at being tough.

  • casting couch says:

    Let's just say I prefer the Han Solo and Indiana Jones characters to Harrison Ford.

  • Kent Merritt says:

    That clip was hilarious! Talk about squirming!

  • Markymark says:

    Harrison Ford, nowadays at least, seems grumpy about almost everything, not just Star Wars (but SW in particular). Last time he was on Letterman, he complained about signing autographs cause he claimed the people were professionals who sold his autographs (probably true).
    Perhaps he's just more of a private person...

  • chechina says:

    I love Star Wars too but that was over thirty years ago for him. Harrison Ford didn't watch Star Wars in a movie theatre as a little boy with wide-eyed wonderment. It wasn't the first movie he loved. He didn't want to be Han Solo when he grew up. He doesn't dress up like Han Solo for Hallowe'en.
    He PLAYED Han Solo in a MOVIE that was his JOB. And he did it well a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

  • greedotorpedo says:

    Love how when the lady asks who will get Princess Leia, Mark immediately says "like your sister" afterward.

  • Cameron says:

    If Harrison Ford had such disdain for Star Wars, I rather doubt he'd be so eager to resurrect Indiana Jones Although they are not the same characters, they do engender the same response from fans.
    I actually don't think he has any real problems with the movies he made. He does look to be suffering from some form of neurological issues. I wouldn't be surprised for us to learn about whatever he has at his death. Or he may just be an entirely nervous person.

  • Wordsworth says:

    Ford is a very private person and a notoriously difficult interview. I remember an Arsenio Hall interview back in 1991 where he looked like he was ready to bolt out of the studio at any moment.
    As for "Star Wars", I doubt he hates it, but it has caused more than its share of annoyances for him. Fans can be persistent and oblivious of boundaries and, yes, a great many actors have a hard time signing autographs now because of the ebay factor.
    I guess we just have to accept that he was grateful for the part but it doesn't mean as much to him as it does to us. Or maybe it's just refreshing for him to be asked about something else.

  • Vromo Calarno says:

    You people need to get a clue....

  • Eric says:

    I'll take Ford more seriously when he takes that earring out. Also, Ford seems to hate everything he's ever done when it comes to scifi - Star Wars, Blade Runner (specifically Ridley Scott) - I wonder if it's a bit or he just hates doing popcorn flicks. Maybe in 15 years he'll hate Cowboys & Aliens.

  • Jimbo says:

    He SHOULD be rolling his eyes over the fact that he made "Six Days, Seven Nights." That may very well be the worst movie ever committed to film. I'd rather sit through "Battlefield Earth" 50 times in a row than watch that turd.