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When it comes to the actors of the original STAR WARS Trilogy, Harrison Ford is arguably the biggest "movie star" to have emerged from "a galaxy far, far away" - his role as cocky smuggler Han Solo serving as a springboard from obscure studio player to Hollywood leading man. Notoriously private and a mercurial man when promoting projects, Ford has a long-held reputation for being a challenging interview subject - one whom after five decades in the game has heard it all, has been asked it all, and will again and again. Perhaps the biggest focus of interview frustration was once Ford's association with STAR WARS itself, with questions ducked, dodged and in some cases, flat-out shut down. Thing is, behind the oft-serious face of one of the greatest actors of our time is that smirk - the same one that helped endear characters like Indiana Jones and Han Solo to audiences on such a mass scale - as if, perhaps there's a little more love for the material than he'd like to lead on, despite a self-professed lack of nostalgia and a stance of just "serving the audience." But here we are, and Ford is back on the interview circuit to discuss his return to the role of Captain Solo - packing a blaster at his side for the first time since RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983, something that no one would have ever expected. This past Sunday at the Global Press Event for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, Ford started his day with a special sit-down with my group... and in case you had any doubt, I most certainly brought some toys.

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To say that my most recent visit to Los Angeles was "surreal" would border on understatement - stepping into a world that just a few years ago none would've expected, nor believed. Going back even further, the small child that still resides housed in this now 39-year-old body would never understand the weight or gravitas of the situation - STAR WARS is back, and aside from the original era of 1977-1983, there's been no better time to be a STAR WARS fan than now. The Force is strong in our family, my wife and I sharing our love of "a galaxy far, far away" with our daughters - our children finding themselves enchanted with the very stories we grew up on, but now with new tales that we can experience together... for the very first time. Sixteen years had passed between the release of RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983 and the debut of THE PHANTOM MENACE in 1999... "the dark times" bridging the gap between the end of the "Original Trilogy" and the start of the "Prequel Trilogy." Now, in 2015, another sixteen years have passed and we've arrived on the cusp of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, the start of a new Trilogy - but one that unlike its predecessors, will be punctuated by standalone "Star Wars Stories" in between. This week, a little boy that spent countless hours immersed in a world of Kenner STAR WARS action figures nearly 40 years ago would be invited by Disney to take a step into a larger world - the Global Press Event for the launch of THE FORCE AWAKENS... a film directed by another little boy (J.J. Abrams), who's now grown-up and and has taken those toys to help relaunch the Saga for new generations of families to enjoy for a long, long time to come...

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How did I get here? There was a moment of pause that was punctuated with misty eyes as I looked over an itinerary placing me in the same room - and the same table - with actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o and filmmaker J.J. Abrams. What really took a moment to sink in was the other name present - Harrison Ford. This is a man who was there the first time around - when STAR WARS was a new thing, and a little boy named "Jimmy" would spend countless hours having adventures with Ford's dashing smuggler, Han Solo in Kenner action figure form. It was STAR WARS that inspired me to try my hand at working in film and television, and here we are on the cusp of a new film that continues the original saga, with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS hitting theaters on December 18th... and I've been invited to Los Angeles to cover the Global Media Days! While The Force is strong with this adventure, my journey to a galaxy far, far away is just one piece of the puzzle that includes projects from Disney, Lucasfilm, Marvel and ABC...

Published in James' Journal

The Force was with JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE last night, as the show drew its 4th-biggest-ever Monday night audience with appearances by the cast of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Jimmy welcomed Director J.J. Abrams and castmembers Harrison Ford with Chewbacca, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and R2D2. ABC will re-air JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: THE STAR WARS SPECIAL in primetime on Wednesday, November 25, at 10:00|9:00 CT on ABC. Check out a clip below...

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Let the conspiracy theories begin as to why Mark Hamill is absent (patience, Young Jedi - all will be revealed on December 18) as five Character Posters for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS have arrived. Today we get some nice highlights of Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), each thematically displaying their signature weapon. To see these in high-res, visit THE ROCK FATHER Magazine on Facebook.

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This past weekend, the cast of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS wowed attendees at Comic-Con International in San Diego, debuting some new making-of footage that soon set the 'net on fire. Among the surprises was an appearance by Harrison Ford, who was born on this day back in 1942. Indeed, we're wishing a Happy Birthday to man behind Han Solo today, with his 1978 Kenner STAR WARS figure featured in today's installment of the Hasbro Force Friday Countdown Calendar. While I don't have that figure, I do have a few other vintage variations, including the Han "in trenchcoat" version from RETURN OF THE JEDI. My wife bought me an unpunched, carded original as a gift a long time ago from a place called Brian's Toys.

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