Q. Why did Harrison Ford become such a movie superstar post-Star Wars despite limited acting range, while co-stars Hamill and Fisher simply faded away?
answered by Jon Mixon, Well over 13,000 movies by now.
While I have to agree with the other answers that stated that Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill didn’t “fade away”, their respective careers were certain far less substantial than their starring roles in the most popular film franchise in human history would have foretold.
Some reasons why Ford was more successful than Fisher or Hamill include:
- He wasn’t crippled by mental illness and drug abuse like Carrie Fisher was – Fisher’s battles with bipolar disorder and drugs are legendary and were even chronicled by the actor herself. She lost a number of roles due to her bad work and behavior reputations and her career never recovered as a result.
- Hamill chose his roles poorly following Star Wars – Quite simply put, Hamill’s non-voiceover roles following Star Wars were terrible. None of his vehicles hit, and his career suffered as a result.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark was a megahit – The success of Raiders lit a fire under Ford’s career and he’s never looked back.
- Ford had two other film franchises in addition to Star Wars – With the Indiana Jones and the Jack Ryan films, Ford had stable movie platforms that he could depend upon in case his other film choices didn’t pan out.
- Neither Hamill, nor Fisher, were leading actors – Neither one could carry a vehicle by themselves and their careers reflect that. Harrison Ford was a leading man and he proved that relatively early on. Leading actors usually have “better” (Better being a subjective term) careers.
- Luck – Harrison Ford has been exceptionally lucky. American Graffitti, led to Star Wars. Star Wars was a megahit. Tom Selleck was unable to take the role of Indiana Jones and Ford was catapulted into superstardom. His weaker films didn’t damage his career for many years. Alec Baldwin dropped out of the Jack Ryan franchise allowing Ford to score those successful roles. The Indiana Jones franchise kept hitting. What Lies Beneath was a stunning and a surprise success. The fact that he passed on what turned out to be successful roles in Syriana and Traffic didn’t harm his career. Basically Ford had had an extended of personal and professional winning streak that was not shared by Hamill nor, unfortunately, Fisher.
In short, things have worked in Harrison Ford’s favor since the mid-1970s and that’s why he is where he is.