Sci Fi Trifles: Useless but essential pop culture tidbits and trivia from the worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Once you’ve read them, you don’t know how you have lived so long without knowing them.
Across Harrison Ford’s long and celebrated acting career, Han Solo is one of his most recognized and lauded roles (along with Indiana Jones, of course). But did you know that originally George Lucas envisioned the character as a green alien and that he worked his way through quite a number of actors before landing on Ford as the one to bring Solo to life on the big screen?
According to IMDb.com, early in the planning stages for the first movie, George Lucas pictured the Han Solo character as “a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and gills”. He abandoned this plan, though, and then decided to make the character a black-skinned human. Among the actors that he considered for the part at this point were Billy Dee Williams (who of course went on to play Lando Calrissian in the next two films) and Glynn Turman. Lucas then took the character in a different direction and decided to go with a white Han Solo. At this point, he considered casting such actors as Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Perry King and even mulled over going with comedians Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, and Bill Murray. Harrison Ford was apparently not on the short list for the role, but he had auditioned for other parts in the film before Lucas realized that he would be perfect for the mercenary smuggler. And while all of those other actors could have offered their own unique twists to the part (and all would have shot first as well), how could we possibly imagine seeing any other person playing the part than Harrison Ford?
Because of the panache and spunk that Ford brought to the role (and his perfect chemistry with the other actors), Han Solo, the scoundrel with a heart of gold, has become one of the best known and most beloved characters in the history of cinema. The American Film Institute has ranked him at Number 14 among the greatest film heroes, Empire magazine has ranked him as the Number 4 greatest movie character, Entertainment Weekly placed him Number 7 among the “All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture”, and the accolades go on from there. And we definitely believe that Harrison Ford in the role helped elevate the first three Star Wars films to the next level. But then it would be interesting to step into an alternate universe where Jack Nicholson or Al Pacino or even Chevy Chase got the part and see how the films turned out . . .
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