Reports started to circulate a couple of weeks ago about Harrison Ford returning as Han Solo in JJ AbramsStar Wars VII. My understanding is that this is not idle conjecture and will probably happen but you know Ford — renowned for being a tough negotiator, has to get his price and then some. Naturally the Disney guys are telling everyone to keep their yaps shut.

If I were Ford, who turns 71 on July 13th, I would want to completely eliminate the possibility of anyone claiming he’ll be playing Grandpappy Solo. 70 is the new 60 or even the new 55 if you eat right and take care of yourself, but Ford really has to buff up for this. He has to at least be the guy he was in Cowboy and Aliens — graying but tough and snarly, rugged and sinewy and semi-leather-faced and still able to dodge asteroids. If I were he I would labor mightily through some punishing health and workout routine (and perhaps with some kind of mild cosmetic touch-up, like getting rid of the fucking turkey neck) to pass myself off as a rugged 50something, perhaps even the way Ford looked in in ’08 in that now-completely-discredited Indiana Jones flick.

The fans will want a return of classic Han Solo and the old Millenium Falcon. They’ll want to go right the hell back to 1980, or as much as possible in that direction. They’ll want one last final smirking strut of the once-rascally freelancer in all his Greedo-shooting glory, casually cruising the cosmos in his retro-fitted bucket of bolts. That means not, emphatically not doing any kind of getting-older, slowing-down, “Oh, my aching back” retirement-home version. Don’t even think about that. We’re talking a performance in the vein of Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again.