Alden Ehrenreich went into Solo: A Star Wars Story knowing he already had the most important blessing on his side.
The actor stars as Han Solo in the standalone origin film detailing the iconic character’s beginnings — and Harrison Ford was totally cool with him stepping into his old boots. Ehrenreich tells PEOPLE in the new special issue, Star Wars: The Secrets of Solo (on newsstands now), that the two met before he started filming in a really cool setting.
“Harrison was awesome, it was awesome just to meet him and have lunch with him,” Ehrenreich says. “I met him at his airplane hangar in Santa Monica and we sat with like five planes around us. He basically said, ‘Tell them I told you everything you need to know, but that you can’t tell anyone anything.’ “
The actor, 28, continues, “He was so encouraging and supportive. It was really nice to walk onto the movie knowing I had his blessing.”
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But Ford’s blessing wasn’t the only thing Ehrenreich was riding on before he started shooting the Ron Howard-directed film. The actor, who calls himself a film buff, also made sure to watch every movie again and read up as much as he could.
“It’s a really specific world that has way different rules. I had to make the role personal,” Ehrenreich says. “I just wanted to know as much as I could about the universe. There’s more literature out there about Star Wars than almost anything!”
Solo: A Star Wars Story flies into theaters May 25.