Sci-Fi Fridays, Episode 47: Casting Young Han Solo – Who Should Play Him?

han-solo-with-blaster

It was recently announced that 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would be jumping into the Star Wars universe by helming the first of what’s sure to be an anthology film series focused on a young Han Solo. Immediately following, speculation ran a muck on social media – everyone had an opinion on who should play Han Solo. Many were throwing out familiar names and faces without first acknowledging the source. Harrison Ford/Han Solo has a very specific look and personality, one that cannot easily be morphed into solely by A-list credibility. Han Solo is a tall, lanky, brash, arrogant scoundrel with a wry smirk and witty charm. Height alone will throw out contenders like Tye Sheridan, Logan Lerman and Josh Hutcherson (imagine placing these guys next to Chewbacca…). Han’s wiry frame is also not typical for today’s Hollywood beefcake mode of casting (sorry Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy, Chris Pratt and Joe Manganiello). Therefore, it’s imperative to come up with ideal suggestions that cater to the character in question, NOT the actor(s) whose poster people have on their dorm walls. That being said, it’s time to shoot for the stars and hopefully find an actor at least half as much cocky charisma that Harrison Ford brought to the screen almost forty years prior. Here are my top five choices…

dylan minnette

5. Dylan Minnette (Age: 18, Height: 5’9”) – If Disney is going to pick from its own pool of young heartthrobs, why not select someone with considerable acting skill and a knack for comic timing? In other words, meet Dylan Minette! He’s most known for his roles in Scandal, Saving Grace and most recently Disney’s hilarious family comedy Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Minnette has that quintessential dashing quality Solo is known for, plus he doesn’t take himself seriously and has a massive amount of movie star mojo to boot. I could certainly envision Minnette comfortably bantering with Chewbacca whilst dodging Imperial blaster fire. Though he’s the youngest candidate in my suggestion lineup, there’s a maturity about Minnette that pushes him past more childish-behaving actors several years older than him. For my money, the up-and-coming Dylan Minnette would be Disney’s ace in the hole should they net from their own catalog.

anthony ingruber

4. Anthony Ingruber (Age: 25, Height: 6’0”) – Let’s face it: Anthony Ingruber is the actor Harrison Ford himself will most likely campaign for if given control. After all, if it ain’t broke why fix it? Ingruber stunned audiences in spring’s Age of Adeline while playing the younger version of Harrison Ford’s character. Ingruber’s video impersonations of the actor have already gone viral an likely contributed to him landing the star-making Adeline role. Unless you’re a sucker for tear-jerking romance films (which I’m going to assume hardcore Star Wars fans are not), then you’ve probably never heard of this actor before. And when it comes to Star Wars casting, it’s the “unknowns” who’ve almost always been at the center of praise.

Ansel-Elgort-in-Insurgent

3. Ansel Elgort (Age: 21, Height: 6’4″) — Ansel Elgort was actually my earliest choice to play Han Solo, though he might need to work on his running abilities. Anyone who has seen Insurgent knows how pathetic of an onscreen runner Elgort is. That being said, Elgort is of the right age, height, appearance and acting ability to successfully pull off the most iconic scoundrel in the galaxy. Elgort has an easy charm about him, not to mention his earnestness and commitment to a role has made him one of the most striking onscreen personas among the new wave of millennial actors.

cory michael smith

2. Cory Michael Smith (Age: 28, Height: 6’0″) — After seeing Cory Michael Smith in Olive Kitteridge (where he was Emmy-level outstanding) and Gotham as The Riddler, I have come to the conclusion that audiences might have just stumbled onto the male version of Jessica Chastain. By that, I mean this guy is an actor chameleon, able to believably become any character or role handed his way without falling into the typecast trap. It also helps that Smith’s profile will be raised considerably with his role in Todd Haynes’ upcoming Oscar contender Carol, which should allow him to become visibly recognizable by the time casting makes their final decisions. Like Solo, Smith is tall and lanky, can muster up massive amounts of charisma when called upon, and isn’t afraid to show his sensitive side now and again.

NEgDRGtBwfjSki_1_b

1. Nick Robinson (Age: 20, Height: 6’1″) — Blaster to head, this is who I’d choose to play Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars spinoff. Robinson’s movie star chops were put to the test in billion-dollar grosser Jurassic World, and the young actor rose to the occasion while manically escaping CGI dinosaurs. Not only does Robinson look like a young Harrison Ford, but he has the same roguish charm and “ladies man” appeal that Solo has in spades. He also knows how to perfectly transition from comedic mayhem to emotionally grounded work, as witnessed from his breakout role in Kings of Summer. It doesn’t hurt matters that Robinson is the exact same height as Ford, has the same tall and skinny frame as Solo, and is one hell of an onscreen runner (everyone remembers Solo running down hallways like an Olympic athlete while escaping stormtroopers onboard the Death Star). Robinson’s biggest “in” might be the fact that his Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow is rumored to helm the third installment in the new trilogy, Episode IX. Surely Trevorrow’s vote of confidence could at the very least get Robinson a screen test, if not an audition.

Well those are my five strongest candidates to step into the shoes of a young Han Solo. Please provide your opinion in the comments section below and do not hesitate to sound off on your own personal picks. Have at it, Star Wars fans!