So Just Who is the Best Replacement for Harrison Ford as Han Solo?
by Ethan Anderton
February 6, 2013
The word is out that Disney and Lucasfilm are working on standalone Star Wars movies to hit theaters in between the episodes of the new trilogy, starting with Episode VII hopefully arriving in 2015 (though there's no guarantees). Just today we learned that two of the standalone spin-offs will feature a young Boba Fett, and another will feature his smuggler adversary Han Solo, brought to life to famously by Harrison Ford. It's hard to envision anyone else in that role aside from Ford himself (and the same can be said for Indiana Jones), but since Ford is no longer 35, a younger actor must be brought in to play the scoundrel. But who?
After doing some extensive brainstorming, here's a list of 15 actors who would make for good replacements for Harrison Ford. Now some of them are older than 35, but their similarities and acting prowess would work so well as a younger Harrison Ford that they could not be ignored. Others are lesser known names who would benefit from a huge breakthrough role, but there's also some big name young stars who would make good fits despite being longshots for the role. So without further adieu, in no particular order, here's a list of 15 actors who we think would be good as Han Solo...
If you've seen Timothy Olyphant on the FX series "Justified," then I don't need to tell you why he'd make a great Han Solo. If not, you're missing out on a great series and one of the actor's finest performances. Otherwise, Olyphant has played a rapscallion of sorts in various films like The Girl Next Door and Gone in 60 Seconds. Plus, he's also seen a good amount of action in The Crazies and Hitman. Basically, Olyphant is gruff, has swagger and a strong presence, and that's what Han Solo needs.
Sure audiences might be used to seeing him with long hair and flannel, Josh Holloway's penchant for giving everyone nicknames as Sawyer on "Lost" and his smart ass remarks in nearly every scene are pure Han Solo. The only downside might be his slight Southern twang in his voice, but if he's a truly good actor, he can fix that. As Sawyer, Holloway showed he's a tough guy, but not beyond being charming as hell at just the right moment. Holloway's biggest moment on the big screen recently came from a role in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which had some moments reminiscent of Star Wars.
Josh Brolin is certainly one of the older choices on this list, but his resemblance to Ford and ability to be both funny and dramatic in films like Men in Black 3, Gangster Squad, True Grit, American Gangster and more make him hard to ignore for the role. Of course, considering Harrison Ford was 35 in Star Wars, the actor taking over would likely need to be a a bit younger, if only slightly older, and Brolin is 44-years old. If only Brolin were born a little later, he would be perfect for the role.
Personally, I'm not sure Nathan Fillion has the acting chops to pull off Han Solo. However, the fact that Fillion played a somewhat similar character in Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and the film adaptation Serenity has made him a favorite among fans. I'm not sure he's among the best replacements, but he's certainly a viable one. Fillion reminds me of a more naturally funny Jeremy Renner, though seemingly without the powerful dramatic chops. Han Solo isn't an Oscar caliber role, but Ford brought a subtle sort of gravitas to the role in addition to the more obvious features of the smuggler.
If it wasn't for Terminator Salvation, The Machinist or Rescue Dawn, I wouldn't think that Christian Bale could get a little gruff, but the actor can be more than a fancy, pretty face. Despite the fancy suits and phony persona Bale put on in The Dark Knight trilogy, I think Bale could surprise people by showing a more playful side as Han Solo. After all, he really played up the disturbingly joyful bits of American Psycho, so it seems like Bale knows how to have fun occasionally, and that's a big part of what Han Solo is all about. But we're not sure if Bale would really be up for talking to a big walking carpet if Chewbacca is involved in this Han Solo spin-off.
We know that having an actor play both Captain Kirk and Han Solo seems a bit much, but after all, J.J. Abrams is taking on both Star Trek and Star Wars, so it would stand to reason that he might bring some familiar faces with him. Pine is perfect as Kirk, a character who, at least in J.J. Abrams reboot, has flares of Han Solo, so it makes sense. However, that just might be the same reason to not cast him as Han Solo. It's the same worry that people who love Star Trek worry that we've already seen what J.J. Abrams would do with Star Wars. Still, we wouldn't mind seeing Pine take on Solo.
Though Gosling is typically more quiet and reserved with his characters, his work in Drive and The Ides of March combined with his charming, funny parts in Crazy Stupid Love make him kind of perfect for Han Solo. However, Gosling might be a little too pretty for Han Solo. That's not to say Harrison Ford wasn't a handsome guy, but Gosling makes all the ladies swoon, and we're not sure he can be all that scruffy like a smuggling scoundrel should be.
In roles varying from The Kids Are All Right to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 13 Going on 30 and Collateral, actor Mark Ruffalo has had quite a diverse career. More recently, Ruffalo turned heads as Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk, in The Avengers. Many people criticized his casting when it was announced a couple years ago, and look how that turned out. Ruffalo is alluring but he can also be brusque in an instant just like Han Solo.
This casting seems even less likely than Joseph Gordon-Levitt becoming Batman for Justice League at this point, but after seeing Don Jon's Addiction at Sundance and how the young actor transformed into Bruce Willis (whom he doesn't even resemble in the least) in Looper, he seems like a great pick for the role. Gordon-Levitt is handsome, but Looper showed he can be tough, gritty and heroic without being cheesy.
Kyle Chander basically played a more dumb, exaggerated version of Han Solo as Bruce Baxter in King Kong, the dimwitted action hero of the 30s. Since then he's taken on an important role in J.J. Abrams' Super 8 and has become very praised for some great work on "Friday Night Lights." However, Chandler has yet to have a truly breakout role as a leading man on the big screen, and this could be his big chance.
After taking a lead role under a helmet in Dredd, why not give Karl Urban some real face time as Han Solo. Even despite being obscured by a helmet, Urban had a commanding presence in Dredd, and had his fair share of fine moments in Star Trek and even The Lord of the Rings. After all, the relationship he has with Captain Kirk in Star Trek feels similar to the friendship Han Solo and Chewbacca have. Of course, Urban also has the problem of being in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, and might not get asked to transfer from the Enterprise to the Millennium Falcon.
Though hardcore Star Wars fans will already see a problem with this choice because of his brief role as Uncle Owen in Revenge of the Sith, Edgerton's career has skyrocketed since then with turns in Warrior, The Thing, Zero Dark Thirty and The Great Gatsby this summer. The actor is on the verge of an Academy Award nomination and though he hasn't had the chance to show his more lighthearted, charming side (save for the sparsely seen The Odd Life of Timothy Green last year), Edgerton has the charisma and irresistible personality that made Han Solo great.
Easily the youngest selection of our names, Franco hasn't yet been tested as a leading man like his brother James Franco. But the younger actor has shown great promise in supporting roles from 21 Jump Street, Fright Night and Warm Bodies. Franco always seems to be on the edge of seeming like a douchebag, but somehow doesn't cross the line. His role in all three of those aforementioned movies rolled into one character would make for one great Han Solo, and this would be one hell of a role for Dave to reach the level of star power that James currently has in the business.
We're huge fans of Jason Clarke here, and after supporting but fantastic performances in Zero Dark Thirty and Lawless this year, the Aussie actor is on the verge of greatness. What better role than that of the pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Much like Timothy Olyphant, it's Clarke's TV work in the canceled Fox police drama "The Chicago Code" that convinces us of his ability to take on Han Solo. He's endearing, but also sly and commanding. If he's not in a Han Solo movie, then he at least deserves a role in the new trilogy.
Disney probably isn't too keen on Taylor Kitsch after John Carter bombed, but that was hardly the fault of the actor and more the fault of the studio's marketing department. However, Battleship is also probably going to make any studio leery of Kitsch, not to mention Savages. But it's important to note that in all those disappointing films, Kitsch gave 110% and shows great promise as a leading man; He just needs the right film. And considering Kitsch was brought on to play Remy LeBeau, aka Gambit (the Han Solo of mutants), in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, that's good enough reason for me.
So that's a pretty hefty list of names to consider for Han Solo. Of course, there's always a chance Disney could be bold and get an unknown to play young Han Solo, much like Harrison Ford was when he took the role back in the 70s. In addition, there's plenty of other young actors who get offered every lead male role, and we're sure agents will be working double time to book the big part. Of course, all of these actors could easily land another role in the countless Star Wars movies that are surely on the way over the next decade, and that's just the start of an all-new saga for Star Wars. Anyone else you think could be Han Solo?