The original draft script used by Hollywood actor Harrison Ford when he was in the UK in 1976 to play Han Solo in the first Star Wars film, is set to go under the hammer.
The script, which has come to light after nearly 50 years, was discarded by Ford in the London flat he was renting, after he took part in filming at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. The owners of the property he rented held onto it for posterity for all these years, having come to know Ford during his time as a tenant and it will now be offered for sale to the public by the family in Excalibur Auctions’ Collectors' Cavern Auction on February 17. The estimate is £8,000-£12,000.
Filming for the epic space fantasy written by George Lucas and originally titled The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, took place at Elstree in 1976, with the film being released the following year. Ford was given a budget by the film studio and chose a flat to rent in Notting Hill in west London, in order to travel easily to the studios for filming. It was here he formed a friendship with the family who are now offering the script and several other items relating to Ford, for sale.
The family's grandmother put an advertisement in The Sunday Times newspaper for a ‘Flat to Let’ as she and her husband were looking for a lodger in their home. Harrison Ford was the person that came to view it and on meeting them he decided to accept the rental. The owners lived on the bottom floors of the house in Elgin Crescent in Notting Hill, while Ford occupied the top two floors. Oblivious to the celebrity world, the couple had no idea who he was and that a Hollywood actor was staying in their home. The property owner’s comment about Ford was simply: “He was an excellent tenant, very tidy”.
During Ford’s stay there were many celebrity visits to the house, with Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia and Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, visiting frequently. The owners had no idea who they were either and didn’t even know Mark Hamill’s name, referring to him simply as ‘the boy’, as that was how Harrison referred to him.
As they got to know their famous tenant, the owners struck up a rapport with Ford, spending time in the garden having drinks and relaxing after filming. One particularly touching story the owner recalls is Ford giving them money to purchase new plants for their garden, as they all spent so much time there. Ford even attended her son’s first birthday party.
On leaving the flat Ford left the script behind. It was a revised fourth draft of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally titled as it is here, The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills by George Lucas (Saga I) Star Wars (March 15, 1976). The script is incomplete (most pages up to page 88 including the famous 'Chasm scene') and unbound with differing-coloured pages indicating revisions. In the current copy we see page 56, a pivotal scene, in the film, which is the first time we are introduced to the character of Han Solo, played by Ford. There were five drafts of the first Star Wars script and this 4th revised edition gives an interesting insight into the making of one of the most important block buster movies ever made, including scenes and characters that were cut from the final edit.
Alongside the script Ford left other items, including a typed letter from his long-time agent Patricia McQueeney. It is dated April 16, 1976 and discusses his contracts and future film prospects. The letter also tells how Pat has spoken to Ford’s first wife Mary Marquadt, who the actor was married to between 1964- 1979. She mentions that she hasn't heard from Ford, for which Pat scolds him. It carries an estimate of £60-£80.