That Time Harrison Ford Drank A Bottle Of Scotch While Trying To Film Empire Strikes Back

Han Solo on Hoth

With Disney now in charge of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, there's been a handful of new movies adopted into the canon. But there is still one installment that remains the fan favorite: The Empire Strikes Back. Episode V took the characters to challenging places and new planets, while also providing one of the biggest twists in movie history. But it wasn't so easy to film.

Harrison Ford recently revealed a horror story involved with filming the sequences set on Hoth. George Lucas took production to Finse, Norway for the snowy scenes, but Ford had a hard time getting to set. In fact, he was stuck on a snowplow for about hours trying to regret there, ultimately taking to a bottle to get him through the nightmare. As Ford tells it,

I think it had come from the hotel where the crew were staying. We went, as I later found out, three hours in the wrong direction on the tracks. 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.

Well, that's certainly intense. In addition to traveling last minute to Norway with his Han Solo costume in tow, Harrison Ford had the commute from hell while trying to get on location for Hoth. But at least he had some liquid courage to enjoy along the way.

This wild tidbit from the set of Empire Strikes back comes from the new book Star Wars Icons: Han Solo (via EW), which dissects Han Solo's long tenure in the Star Wars franchise. Harrison Ford himself contributed his experience on set, as he played Han in four movies, before handing over the reigns to Alden Ehrenreich for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Also in the book, Star Wars associate producer Jim Bloom explained how Norwegian customs may have factored into the scotch consumption, especially during a long and stressful night of travel. Bloom says,

The only way to get him to Finse was to send the plow, which was the train plow that kept the line clear, down at nighttime. . . . 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.

And you thought chopping open a Tauntaun was bad. It turns out that things were difficult for Harrison Ford before he even arrived on Hoth. Luckily, it paid off. The wintery scenes in Empire Strikes Back are some of the first trilogy's most iconic.

Star Wars Icons: Han Solo is on sale now, and the next Star Wars installment will be Episode IX on December 20th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.