"But I thought he was an old man: an old, wonderful actor," Ford, now 67 (he was 37 back then), said at Thursday night's 30th anniversary screening of the intergalactic hit at L.A.'s Arclight Theater, benefitting St. Jude's Children’s Research Hospital.
Suddenly, Ford was hit by a revelation: "I did the math. I figured out how old he was in Star Wars, and he was about six years younger than I am now. It gave me pause."
On the other hand, being in one of the most famous movie series of all time, Ford said, didn't alter his own children's perception of him.
"Funny enough, they don’t get that part,” he said of his superstar status. "I have children of all ages. Some of them are the same age as I am, I think!"
In the days he was shooting Empire, "I had a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old, and I think they very much appreciated the film at the time, but I wasn’t a superstar. I was just 'Dad.' "
Reporting by SCOTT HUVER