Starting life as a scruffy-looking nerfherder from Corellia, Han Solo has certainly been on quite a journey since his arrival in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. As one of the most famous characters in the history of cinema, can you imagine anyone other than #HarrisonFord playing #HanSolo in the original #StarWars trilogy? While we know that #AldenEhrenreich will portray a younger version of the cocky captain in Disney's anthology spin-off, it turns out that things could've been very different for the original Han. As it turns out, #HarrisonFord wasn't always the first choice for the role and we nearly had a very different smug smuggler.
The Man, The Plan, The Han
The race to the Millennium Falcon's cockpit was the '70s equivalent of who could be playing Batgirl, with a veritable who's who of Hollywood tossing their hats into the ring. However, speaking to Empire Magazine, actor Glynn Turman revealed that he almost nabbed the part thanks to #GeorgeLucas:
"In those days it said 'black actor', 'white actor', 'Hispanic actor' for every role, but it didn't say either for the Han Solo part. It didn't specify 'black actor'. I was rather pleased because I was just being called in as a talent."
Not just one of the many who auditioned for a part as a claim to fame, Turman revealed to Creative Loafing exactly how close he came to joining that galaxy far, far away:
"Apparently George Lucas had me in mind for the role, and then thought that there might be too much controversy between a white Princess Leia and a black Han Solo – because those were the times – and he didn't want to get into that."
"At the time, I had no idea. I just went to the audition, did it and got out of there. Years later, I read his book and said, 'What?' I'm waiting to run into Harrison Ford and get my cut of his career!"
In a time when race and gender still played a huge part in how films went, we forget just how different things were in the '70s and '80s. However, with Star Trek's controversial interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura coming some nine years before A New Hope, I don't see what the big deal was.
Star Wars certainly tried to be somewhat progressive for the time, and it included a powerful female lead with Carrie Fisher, but representation both racially and gender-wise was still pretty bleak. The films had a black man (behind a microphone) as the voice of Darth Vader, and Lucas didn't introduce Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian until the second film. Even then, Han's long-standing friend was relegated to playing second fiddle. Had Turman been cast, it could've been Ford playing Lando and a very different future for cinema. Even though he missed out on playing Han, Turman has over 100 credits to his name and is still acting today. While not as well known as Ford, Glynn went on to have parts in Gremlins, Super 8, and The Wire.
It is interesting to contemplate how Ford's career would've panned out if he hadn't been the man behind Han, but I guess we will never know. Other names who famously tried out for the role were Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Sylvester Stallone. While they all would've brought their own unique charm, you can't deny that all it takes is one eyebrow raise from Ford and you are sold as him being the ultimate Han Solo.
Check out Ford's original audition for playing Han Solo and don't forget our poll below!