If there are two roles Harrison Ford has become known for throughout his long career, they are Han Solo in Star Wars and Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones franchise.
As it turns out, though, being cast as the rakish Millennium Falcon pilot wasn’t always in the cards for the legendary actor.
Now 78-year-old Ford (The Fugitive, What Lies Beneath, Clear and Present Danger) had worked with George Lucas on American Graffiti (1973). Due to his existing professional relationship with the Star Wars creator, Ford was asked to help with casting for the first Star Wars movie, today referred to as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) thanks to the addition of the prequel trilogy.
Mental Floss shared details about how Ford inadvertently ended up as part of one of the biggest sci-fi film franchises of all time:
Lucas shared the seven-month-long casting sessions for Star Wars with his friend and fellow director Brian De Palma, who was casting for Carrie at the same time. Lucas was looking for unknown faces that he had never worked with before, and initially brought in Harrison Ford—who had appeared as the antagonist street racer Bob Falfa in Lucas’s American Graffiti—to feed lines to the auditioning actors.
Lucas saw dozens of actors—including a young Kurt Russell—for the part of Han, but liked Ford’s delivery feeding lines to the other actors so much that he caved and cast him in the part.
Famously not fond of the Star Wars universe — we know you remember that Force Ghost comment — Ford has nonetheless gone on to play Han Solo in five of the nine Skywalker Saga movies. In Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the Academy Award-winning actor was Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) reluctant rescuer on Hoth.
Then, in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Ford’s Solo finally got the girl when he confessed his feelings for Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) on the forest moon of Endor.
Ford then joined his original trilogy costars, Carrie Fisher (Princess General Leia Organa) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), in Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Solo primarily appeared in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), in which he was tragically killed by his and Leia’s son, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The actor also made a brief cameo in the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
At this time, Ford has not shared any plans to reprise his role as Han Solo again. Though it is possible that we could see the character in the upcoming Lando Calrissian miniseries, which may feature both Donald Glover and Billy Dee Williams. Lucasfilm has yet to confirm, but both actors have hinted at their involvement.
Ford will, however, thrill Lucasfilm fans as Indiana Jones once more in Indiana Jones 5 (2022).
And, after what happened with Mark Hamill in The Mandalorian, we’ve learned to never say never when it comes to seeing our favorite Star Wars characters again…
What do you think about Harrison Ford being accidentally cast as Han Solo?