Despite any of our remaining hopes and dreams which survived being dashed against the rock of Star Wars Episode VII — The Force Awakens, we are pretty darn certain right now that we won't be seeing Harrison Ford returning to reprise his role as scruffy lookin' nerf herder Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII.
Disappointing? Certainly. Surprising? Not really. Even if there was narrative space for his character to return, Ford himself has made it repeatedly clear that he's done, having spent 30 years pushing for his character to make the ultimate sacrifice.
We still don't know all that much about Star Wars 8 right now, but between the multitude of theories about the true identity of Rey's (Daisy Ridley) parents, to speculation about what's going to happen to General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) , and the hot rumor that Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is going to make an appearance on Ahch-To — we've got plenty to keep us occupied.
The next mainstage Star Wars installment — which just recently wrapped filming — is directed by Rian Johnson, master of the Twitter game. He proved this yet again recently, whilst dropping news of a surprising influence upon Star Wars 8.
When asked by a fan on Twitter if there were any modern movies which influenced or inspired the creative process on the upcoming movie, Johnson responded by referencing Steven Spielberg's whip cracking Indiana Jones series — specifically Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Raiders of the Lost Ark did, of course, star Harrison Ford as the series titular character Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, breaker of hearts and robber of tombs. The Indiana Jones movies — well, the first three at least — are known for their light-hearted and action-packed take on archeology, danger, and ritual sacrifice (Temple of Doom was a weird time for everyone).
The blend of likeable characters (forgiving Willie Scott — Temple of Doom again) with larger-than-life action scenes and a tongue-in-cheek take on history was all wrapped around the lead — Ford's Indiana, whom he played as a slightly nerdier, more often shirtless Han Solo. So from the sounds of things, we can expect to see a similar dynamic in Johnson's Star Wars 8. Hopefully with less face-melting involved.
In addition to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Johnson told attendees at last month's Star Wars Celebration Europe that he was also inspired by classic British war movies — specifically The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Twelve O’Clock High (1949), which he made production staff watch before shooting began on Star Wars 8. So we can expect the campy fun of Raiders of the Lost Ark blended with an underlying seriousness inspired by harrowing war classics for the next big step in the franchise.
It seems that, whilst Harrison Ford may be gone, he shall not be forgotten, as two of his hugely iconic characters have had an impact upon Star Wars 8. Let's just hope that the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 isn't as bad as its predecessor. In fact, let's just forget that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a thing that exists at all. I'm sure Harrison Ford would probably like to.