The new book Star Wars Icons: Han Solo will explore all facets of the iconic scoundrel, including in-world details about the character as well as behind-the-scenes anecdotes from those responsible for bringing the character to life. In an excerpt from the upcoming book from Entertainment Weekly, Harrison Ford recalled his journey to the set of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the arduous trip to his hotel, which includes many wrong turns and alcohol.
"They called me saying that they'd like me to come immediately, the next day, to be available to start shooting," Ford shares in the book. "I had to bring my costume with me. I got off the airplane in Norway, and there was a guy with a sign with my name on it. He put me in a car. He spoke not a word of English. He drove me to a train station. He took my bag out of the back and put it in the train station. I followed my bag and sat down on a bench, and nobody spoke English. I had no idea in the world where I was going or how I was going to get there."
As evidenced by the Hoth scenes in the film, the snow-covered landscape made for a treacherous journey, requiring a vehicle equipped with a snow plow to bring Ford to his hotel as opposed to a standard car.
"There was a guy who was manning the station— had a little desk and a telephone in an office there— and he came out at a certain point," Ford added. "I heard the train come up, and this guy came out and grabbed my bag and went out onto the platform. He opened the door to the cab of a huge engine with an auger on the front that dug its way through snow and then could swivel on its base and turn around and come back the other direction. That was the means of conveyance. Somehow, it had been arranged for this guy to come and pick me up because the [train] tracks were not clear."
The hazardous terrain meant that Ford and his driver had to improvise their way to get to the hotel and inadvertently almost tripled their travel time. Luckily, the duo had some alcoholic beverages with them to make for a more spirited trip.
"We went, as I later found out, three hours in the wrong direction on the tracks," the actor confessed. "Then, we swiveled around and went three hours back and then continued to our destination. It was about ten hours as I remember. I arrived in the dark with an empty bottle of scotch, which I had shared with the non-English-speaking train engineer, and exited into a tunnel through the snow and into the hotel where the crew was and the cast was."
While the safety of these conditions sounds questionable at best, associate producer Jim Bloom shared in the book that Ford was seemingly honoring a tradition regarding libations.
"The only way to get him to [his hotel] was to send the plow, which was the train plow that kept the line clear, down at nighttime," Bloom noted. "The Norwegians have a tradition, when you open a bottle you never close it, so when they get there, they kind of fell off the train."
You can learn even more about Han Solo in the book Star Wars Icons: Han Solo, on sale now from Sideshow Collectibles.
Had you heard this anecdote about The Empire Strikes Back before? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!