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Movie stars weren’t always able to transition seamlessly to TV and back again. But in the current age of “peak TV” and countless streaming services, that all has changed. After all, even the legendary Harrison Ford himself currently appears on the Paramount+ series 1923. Here’s why the actor decided to sign on the new project, the latest spin-off in the Yellowstone universe.

Harrison Ford has played several iconic big-screen heroes

Harrison Ford attends the "1923" premiere screening
Harrison Ford attends the “1923” premiere screening I David Becker/Getty Images for Paramount+

It didn’t take too long after making his film debut in the late 1960s for Ford to begin rising in the ranks in Hollywood. Following a notable supporting part in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, the director brought Ford on for his ambitious follow-up: 1977’s Star Wars. And Ford’s roguish smuggler-turned-rebel Han Solo remains one of the most famous roles of his career.

Of course, Lucas also helped create Ford’s other most iconic character, Indiana Jones. Add in other Hollywood hits such as Blade Runner, Witness, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and What Lies Beneath, and it becomes abundantly clear what an impact Ford has had on moden Hollywood moviemaking.

‘1923’ is the actor’s first lead role on television

With everything Ford has accomplished on the big screen, it’s remarkable to think how little he’s done on television. The actor made a few guest appearances on shows like The Mod Squad and Gunsmoke and a handful of TV movies in the 1960s and 1970s. But after the much-maligned 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, his only TV role was a guest spot on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in 1993. That all changed with 1923, the actor explained.

“I was knocked out when I got the script,” Ford told CBS This Morning. The ambition and the bold storytelling, it’s audacious. [Co-star] Helen [Mirren] was a big part of the lure of it all for me because as much as we’re telling the story of the condition of the West at that particular time, there’s also a very important central relationship here between husband and wife. The marriage that we’re portraying is one of deep, deep complex partnership between these two people.”

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Reuniting with Helen Mirren for the first time since The Mosquito Coast was a major incentive for Ford. But to be fair, he’s spent a decent amount of time in the past decade or so circling back to some of his most popular roles. In 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he brought Han Solo’s story to an end. And just two years later, he delivered one of his best performances in years as an older Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049.

And now in 2023, Ford is taking a third stab at bidding a final farewell to Indiana Jones. The franchise seemingly ended in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and then 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Now at age 80, Ford returns for Indiana Jones and Dial of Destiny, hopefully giving fans the epic send-off they’ve been waiting for.

Until then, Ford has another TV series coming to Apple TV+. The comedy, titled Shrinking, co-stars Jason Segel and premiered on January 27, 2023.