Today's announcement that the directors of the Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are set to helm a Han Solo origin tale should elicit three specific knee jerk reactions in fanboys: overwhelming joy, the desire to jump up on the nearest table and get friggin' down, and the inexplicable need to tell the whole world who you think should portray a young Han Solo.
(Side Note: No, Chris Pratt's performance as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy was not an extended audition tape for Solo. He's currently locked in to two franchises, and is rumored for a third, so it seems safe to say he's out of the running.)
Assuming of course Lord and Miller have no desire to use CGI/motion capture to allow Harrison Ford to reprise his role, rumors will run wild over the coming weeks concerning who's gonna be the next captain of the Millennium Falcon. Here are a few suggestions:
One of the more obvious candidates for the part, Hedlund has been on the verge of a breakout since his duel 2004 debut film roles in Friday Night Lights and Troy. One of the few young talents in Hollywood that isn't currently locked into at least one major franchise—Pan doesn’t count, does it?—Hedlund looks ready and able to take this project, and all the pressures that will accompany it, on. He would be a fine choice.
Egerton's name has been thrown into many hats since his starring turn in Kingsman: The Secret Service earlier this year. He's been rumored for multiple superhero roles, but has yet to sign on to participate in any major franchises as of yet. And according to an interview with MTV, he doesn't appear to be in any rush to do so. But who could turn down the most in-demand directing duo in the game, who just so happen to be offering up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? He's rumored to have had discussions for the role in the past, so be sure to keep an eye on this kid.
Another obvious candidate that won't earn any originality points, Kitsch's name will likely be bandied about with heavy frequency over the next few weeks. His role as Officer Paul Woodrugh in the second season of True Detective is officially a hit with critics and fans alike, so big-time franchise offers shouldn't be too far behind. Assuming his latest starring role isn't messing with his head too much, Kitsch is a natural fit for the arrogant but honorable Solo.
A relative newcomer to the industry, Ingruber is undoubtedly the least-known actor on this list. The thing about this guy is that he's already played a young Harrison Ford before: he had a small role in the 2015 drama Age of Adaline. A strong tip of the cap to Gamezone for inspiring this bit of fancasting, but it should be noted that this one is a huge long shot. As much as the creative minds behind Star Wars movies love casting unknowns in their lead roles, very rarely are actors that are known more for their impressions of other actors than their own original performances chosen. Ingruber's striking resemblance to the original Solo may well earn him an audition, but he would be wise to work on multiple different takes on the character to expand upon his impersonation of Ford.
Another soul-crushingly obvious candidate that you'll surely hear about in the next few weeks was the star of last year's highest grossing film (domestically) American Sniper. Cooper's name seems to come up whenever a major role is being cast, and this one is no different. Cooper's age (he's 40) and his reluctance to commit to major franchises (excluding his voice work on Guardians of the Galaxy) will likely rule him out of this race, though he does appear to be a natural fit for the role.
Admit it: this one is intriguing. For all the vitriol that's thrown his way in the online world, LaBeouf is an undeniable talent. He might just knock this out of the park. Like Cooper, however, LaBeouf has been hesitant to sign on for leading man franchise-type roles over the last few years. Perhaps this could be the project to change his mind.
Hell, he's already blown our minds in a Star Wars film before, why stop now?
Also, please do keep in mind that LaBeouf might kill us all if we don't give him what he wants.
Another obvious candidate, Eastwood checks off almost all of the boxes that Disney will use as Han Solo criteria. He's still relatively unknown, he's only 29 years old, and he's yet to headline the sort of career-defining franchise that could distract audiences from fully accepting him as a world-class smuggler/scoundrel. Assuming his role in David Ayer's Suicide Squad isn't secretly Steve Trevor or Slade Wilson, Eastwood's dance card could be wide open.
Known primarily for YA fare like the Divergent series and The Fault in Our Stars, Elgort is a solid young actor worthy of consideration. He's not quite a household name as of yet, and Disney would be wise to include Elgort on the audition list.
The 26 year old Australian is best-known in the U.S. for his appearance in Nicholas Sparks' most recent unwatchable chick-flick, The Best of Me. Later this year, however, Bracey will bring Johnny Utah himself back to life in the remake of the early-90's classic, Point Break. That sly grin of his practically screams Han Solo.
Of course O'Brien is on this list, what do you think this is? After the 23 year old missed out on his chance at Spiderman, he's due for his shot at true superstardom. He's got the looks, the talent, and he's just the right age to play a Han Solo that's just starting out. Bonus points to O'Brien for declaring Han Solo to be his dream role. He seems like the sort of guy that would definitely shoot first, doesn't he?