I was a big fan of “Star Wars” so it is good to see Harrison Ford back doing a sci-fi movie again. Is his new character in “Ender’s Game” anything like Han Solo?
—Luke Mitchell, Brooklyn, NY.
While it is true that both movies take place in space, Harrison Ford, 71, is now at the point in his career where he plays much more complex characters than early on. So, Colonel Hyrum Graff, his character, is a man with a lot of responsibility, which is something Han Solo didn’t deal with until forced to.
“Ender’s Game” takes place in the not too distant future when an alien race, the Formics, have attacked Earth. The planet had been saved by International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), but now, as the residents of Earth prepare for the next attack, Colonel Graff is charged with finding a hero comparable to Mazer in the next generation of fighters.
“Graff faces a lot of moral issues that are involved with using young people for warfare,” Ford says. “The book deals with a lot of complex issues of social responsibility and the moral issues that one faces when one is part of the military establishment. I was delighted to be involved in a film with such high ambition and such talented people. I think Graff is a much more complex character than Han Solo. That doesn’t mean that I regret Han Solo.”
In agreeing to be part of “Ender’s Game,” Ford recognized that both the novel and the movie look at the reality of being able to wage war from a distance, and the emotional disconnect that results.
“The morality of a military-command structure and a society, which raises a military that wages war, are the moral concerns of this film, and they are something that we are now wrestling with daily,” the Chicago-born actor says. “The issue of inter-planetary warfare is the science fiction aspect of it, but what gives it such an emotional tone is that these are the concerns of our everyday lives now. Drone warfare and the capacity that we have technologically is one part of the moral package. The other is the use of young people in the business of war. That has always historically been the case. The youngest and fittest of our culture have always been the ones who were first in line for warfare… It’s really important for us to visit these questions, not only in the daily news, but also in our emotional and civic lives.”