On the heels of the success of the Star Wars original trilogy’s first two movies — Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — George Lucas’s Lucasfilm, Ltd. launched a new action-adventure franchise with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
The movie franchise — which is now set to release its fifth installment in 2023 — starred Harrison Ford as the title character, archaeologist Henry Jones, Jr.
The American Graffiti actor had already made a name for himself as Millennium Falcon pilot Han Solo in the Star Wars universe, alongside costars Mark Hamill (Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa). But, as it turns out he wasn’t ever supposed to play Indy.
Famously, Steven Spielberg had wanted Tom Selleck to play the action hero. And, as it turns out, Hollywood heavyweight, Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams, The Postman, Dances With Wolves, The Bodyguard) was the first choice for Ford’s breakout role in Air Force One (1997).
Per an article about the casting:
“This was a script that Kevin Costner originally had, and he gave it to me,” he [Ford] said. “Kevin knew this was a big commercial movie, and his schedule didn’t allow him to do it.” He went on to reveal that Costner specifically told the producers of the late ’90s action movie that he would step away from the role if it was certain that the “Star Wars” alum could have the part.
Ford went on to share, “Now Kevin and I are not intimates. I’ve met him on a number of occasions, and I like him very much. I like him a lot more now because he really threw a winner my way.”
More on Harrison Ford and Lucasfilm
Ford’s distaste for Star Wars — and Force ghosts, as fans will recall — is well-documented. He last appeared in a brief cameo in the Skywalker Saga conclusion, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), with stars Daisy Ridley (Rey), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), and John Boyega (Finn).
He also played a major role in the first sequel trilogy movie, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), in which he was ultimately killed by him and Princess Leia’s son, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver).
More on Air Force One
Sony Pictures’ official description of Air Force One reads:
The fate of the nation rests on the courage of one man. Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman star in two-time Oscar® nominee Wolfgang Petersen’s gripping thriller about an uncompromising U.S. President who has just told the world he will not negotiate with terrorists. When Russian neo-nationalists hijack Air Force One, the world’s most secure and extraordinary aircraft, the President is faced with a nearly impossible decision to give in to terrorist demands or sacrifice not only the country’s dignity, but the lives of his wife and daughter.
Did you know that Kevin Costner was originally supposed to be in Air Force One?