Harrison Ford Makes Surprise Appearance at 'Star Wars' Comic-Con Panel, Says It Was 'Great to Be Back' as Han Solo

This was the actor's first official public appearance since his plane crash in Santa Monica in March

Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty

To Star Wars: The Force Awakens fans’ surprise and delight, their beloved Han Solo made the surprise appearance of a lifetime at the Comic-Con panel Friday evening.

Harrison Ford stepped out on stage to a standing ovation and saluted more than 6,000 excited visitors in Hall H at the San Diego convention, his first public event after being injured from crashing his plane on a Santa Monica golf course in March.

“I’m fine, I walked here,” Harrison joked with panel moderator Chris Hardwicke when asked about his foot. “How bad can it be?”

Last to come out to join his castmates and the filmmakers, a recovering Ford (he was hospitalized for nearly a month) talked about what it was like reprising his role for Episode VII.

“It should’ve felt ridiculous,” Ford said. “[The first movie] was 30 years ago, and I sort of grew up. And yet here I was doing something I did so long ago and I will tell you that it felt great.”

Smiling at the audience members, who continued applauding the actor as he spoke, Ford went on, “I wasn’t so sure it would be but the company was the right company, the director was the right director. Larry [Kasdan] wrote us a wonderful story and I was proud and grateful to once again be involved. The original Star Wars that I was a part of really was the beginning of my working life and I was very, very grateful for the opportunity that I had in that film and for the success of that film. It was great to be back.”

When asked where he thought the iconic Han Solo would be so many years since the debut of the 1977 original film, he said he didn’t expect his next chapter in the saga to “come back to bless me rather than haunt me.”

“I was very grateful when I read the script because I read something that I thought was really remarkable, really well written and with some very intriguing developments.”

Ford joined the panel – director J.J. Abrams, stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, and two more surprise guests, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher – during the last 10 minutes of the presentation. (Producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan also attended.)

Convention-goers also got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming film.

And the fun didn’t stop there: Fans were all invited to keep the celebration going and join the cast and crew at a Star Wars-themed concert featuring the classic music from John Williams, performed by the San Diego Symphony.

Since the first teaser hit the web back in 2014, a shroud of mystery has surrounded the upcoming seventh installment.

In March, Disney sparked even more frenzy when it confirmed the sequel to The Force Awakens and announced a May 2017 premiere date.

RELATED VIDEO: Hear About Harrison Ford’s Crash from Eyewitnesses

Only a month later, the loyal fandom was treated to a second teaser, which gave viewers the first real insight into the films plot line, along with the return of the original film’s headliners – Ford, Hamill and Fisher (her daughter, Billie Lourd, is also in the movie, but will not play Princess Leia’s daughter).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18.

Reporting by MELODY CHIU

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