A few days ago Disney/LucasFilm confirmed what had long been rumored; that one of the upcoming standalone Star Wars films will be focused on a “young” Han Solo. The project is in the very early stages of development and little is known about it, even what “young” really means. Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 & 22 Jump Street) are slated to direct the film. Now the question of who plays the iconic character comes to the forefront.
In the original trilogy, Han Solo worked because of Harrison Ford. There has never been an actor more perfect for a role, or vice versa. Ford’s everyman charm, comedic timing, devilish good looks, and subtle dark side were integral in creating a character that not only would be become iconic, but would also become an archetype itself. Countless characters since Han Solo have been modeled after him, even a few that Ford has himself played. Han Solo was a great hero because he really wasn’t a hero at all, just a charismatic but desperate smuggler navigating the armpits of the universe who happened to be in that cantina at Mos Eisley at the same time Luke and Obi-Wan were. Chris Pratt, whose name has been thrown around in rumors for both this film and the Indiana Jones reboot, has risen to superstardom by essentially putting his own spin on this type of character in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World.
In principle, I have a bit of a problem with Hollywood “re-doing” Han Solo, but the selection of Lord & Miller to direct gives me confidence. I expect an irreverent and funny film that pokes fun at itself and the Star Wars machine as a whole. However, a film about Han Solo is only going to be as good as the guy playing him. Seeing as Pratt is 36-year old superstar who’s going to command a hefty price tag (his “pay-or-play” figure is reportedly at $12M now) and brings a lot of preconceived ideas with him, I’m pretty sure the big wigs at Disney and the producers of the film are going to want to go in a different direction. Here are thirteen names I think would, at least, be interesting.
Note: All of the names I’m bringing up are WHITE MALES. I understand that the lack of blockbuster roles for both women and people of color is a serious issue in Hollywood, but this is Han Solo. They ARE going to cast a white dude, let’s be realistic.
Ordered from most obvious to least obvious. This is 100% speculative. They’ll probably end up casting some unknown but strapping Australian guy in his young-20’s or, you know, that Chris Pratt guy.
You know him from: Acclaimed films such as The Spectacular Now and Whiplash, not-very-good comedies Project X and That Awkward Moment, the Divergent series, and he’ll be playing Mr. Fantastic in the upcoming Fantastic Four film.
Why he would work: Teller will appear on every internet list concerning Han Solo until the character is officially cast. He fits the physical profile really well, could play both younger or older depending on the character. Teller is becoming a household name and Fantastic Four may push him over the top. He hasn’t been typecast yet- has shown off his ability to be both an action star and a funnyman (essential for playing Han Solo).
Why he wouldn’t: They might actually not want a name this big in the role. If the producers commit to a late-teens Han they’ll probably look to go younger and more unknown. Despite some of the acclaim he’s received, Teller has a lot of haters that think he gives off a pompous vibe and there would certainly be a lot of die-hard Star Wars fans who would hate the decision. Or maybe that’s just me.
You know him from: His breakout lead turn in Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Why he would work: There are a slew of rumors saying that Egerton and the next guy on the list are being considered by Disney execs. Egerton did a fine job with a very Han-esque character in Kingsman. He’s a rising star and Disney may want to make sure they get in on that before his price skyrockets (like they did with getting Pratt to sign a multi-film deal for Guardians of the Galaxy). And while he’s quite famous now, Egerton isn’t recognizable enough to spark any preconceived notions about the classic character.
Why he wouldn’t: He’s British, which isn’t a huge deal, but it’s something to consider. If Disney requires an established A-lister for the role (which they hopefully won’t), Egerton is probably out. That’s all I can really think of. He’d be my personal choice.
You know him from: Skins, the zombie-romance Warm Bodies, as the titular character in Jack the Giant Slayer, and war-boy Nux from Mad Max: Fury Road. Hoult is also Beast in the current X-Men timeline.
Why he would work: The other 25 year-old British dude whose name is swirling around the rumor mill already. Hoult has put together an impressive early filmography and studio heads obviously love him (at least as a supporting player). He gave a truly great performance in Mad Max: Fury Road, proving himself as a dedicated and talented actor.
Why he wouldn’t: Jack the Giant Slayer, the only blockbuster Hoult has ever headlined, was a complete box office bomb so there may be some stink around Hoult as a leading man. Hoult has yet to show the comedic chops the role will likely require. For me, Hoult is a guy who could be in a Han Solo movie, I just wouldn’t want him as Han Solo.
You know him from: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman, and as trident-wielding hearthrob Finnick in The Hunger Games series.
Why he would work: He’s a good-looking dude who straddles the line between “really famous” and “up and coming” perfectly. He’s actually very good in The Hunger Games movies, certainly better than the other young male actors involved. Oozes charisma.
Why he wouldn’t: Reports say that Claflin is actually in advanced talks to play a role in Star Wars: Rogue One, a standalone Star Wars film from Gareth Edwards, which obviously complicates the idea of him as Han a bit. He’s also British, though it doesn’t seem like he has any issues with accents. But much like Teller, his ability to fit into the role is very dependent on exactly how young they want Han to be.
You know him from: Skins, his starring turn in Angelina Jolie’s noble failure Unbroken, and for ’71.
Why he would work: He’s a 24 year old who could probably play in his 30’s if need be and he’s just a damn good actor. He should at least be considered for any starring role asking for a young(ish) man.
Why he wouldn’t: Another British dude!!! But in all seriousness, while he’s a very good actor, I don’t think O’Connell would be able to pull off Han Solo’s sarcastic aura. O’Connell is very serious when he acts; he carries this determined look in his eyes. He’ll surely find a role that turns him into a global superstar soon, I just don’t think that role is Han Solo.
You know him from: currently starring on Halt and Catch Fire, was in a Twilight movie, played an elf in The Hobbit movies, and the primary villain Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Why he would work: An American….finally!!! Pace is a very very good actor who’s given some noble supporting turns in big movies. He’s funny, he’s handsome, and he can pass as a badass. He’s currently doing an exceptional job on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire.
Why he wouldn’t: In all likelihood, Pace is probably about a decade older than the ideal candidate. It’s not impossible to hide that sort of age, but Pace is five years older than Harrison Ford was when they shot the original films. He’s also a relative unknown.
You know him from: TV shows such as Friday Night Lights and True Detective, “big” films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Battleship, John Carter, and Lone Survivor.
Why he would work: Kitsch is a better actor than he gets credit for, though he does deserve some blame for constantly choosing bad projects. He has this certain ruggedness about him which would be cool to see as a young Han. Despite being 34, Kitsch naturally looks very young and could play someone in their early-20’s.
Why he wouldn’t: It’s hard to see Disney investing too much in Kitsch given the fact that John Carter was one of the biggest flops in the history of the studio. He’s never really recovered as a leading man.
You know him from: a lot of different things, most notably successful films like Looper, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises.
Why he would work: JGL is great. I think most of us agree on that. He’s got a nice charm to him but has also proved himself capable of carrying action sequences. About as big of a name as you’re going to find in the acceptable age range. A popular choice amongst internet’ers and die-hard fans.
Why he wouldn’t: Perhaps JGL is a little too recognizable to slide into the role of young Han Solo. And besides, would he even want to do it? He doesn’t exactly need the career boost and maybe he wants to write and direct some more.
You know him from: A bunch of different parts on American Horror Story, his supporting turn in Kick-Ass, and a scene-stealing appearance as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Why he would work: Could be the perfect fit in terms of age, charisma, and actual acting chops. He was so awesome in X-Men, my only complaint is that they gave him just two scenes.
Why he wouldn’t: Not really a big name yet and he’s never had to carry a movie before. It’d be risky bet. He also sort of looks like a Skywalker which would be troublesome.
You know him from: Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim.
Why he would work: Undeniable physical presence in every role he plays. It’s actually a surprise that he hasn’t become a bigger action star yet, but with Sons of Anarchy now over, that might be his next foray.
Why he wouldn’t: He’s probably too old and after struggling with what was simple material in Pacific Rim, one must ask, is he actually good?
You know him from: The Pitch Perfect series and the comedy 21 & Over.
Why he would work: A lot of people think that this guy is Hollywood’s next superstar. Landing a role like this would be huge for him and it’d be nice to see a fresh face as Han rather than a guy we’ve seen in twenty big movies already.
Why he wouldn’t: Can he really act? Would people buy him as an action star? Would die-hard fans gag at the thought of having the dude from Pitch Perfect as Hans Solo?
You know him from: The Comedy Central hit Workaholics, probably. He’s also in the Pitch Perfect movies.
Why he would work: Hear me out on this one. While he’s a comedy-only guy for now, Devine is about to become much more than the dude with a couple TV shows. He’s tapped to star alongside Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway in The Intern later this year, as well as next to Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick next year. While I’m not a big gan of Workaholics overall, Devine’s outlandish cockiness is quite funny. He’s the best part of the show, and probably the only member of the cast who looks like a guy who could carry a movie.
Why he wouldn’t: This won’t happen. I’m spitballin’ here. I have absolutely no clue if Devine can act. Even if he can, he’d have to prove himself before making this sort of leap, and Disney will cast the role before he has a chance to do so.
You know him from: The brother of James has appeared in many Hollywood films including 21 Jump Street, Warm Bodies, Neighbors, and Now You See Me.
Why he would work: For the last couple years I’ve been hoping to see a studio take this sort of risk on Franco (I really wanted him to be Spider-Man, but they went much younger). He’s hilarious, has shown some actual acting chops when given the opportunity, and really does look like someone who could pass as a young Harrison Ford. Franco is going to get a chance to star in something other than a raunchy comedy soon enough.
Why he wouldn’t: He pissed his pants that one time in Superbad which could hurt his chances. Much like Devine, casting someone known primarily as a comedian is very risky. It won’t happen. But damnit, it should.
And that’s all folks. Keep in mind that Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad has been mentioned in rumors as well.