The Next Han Solo Will Have to Live up to These Star Wars Moments
The ingredients for the recently announced standalone Han Solo film include two proven co-writers and directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 & 22 Jump Street, The Lego Movie), who know how to stage witty, exciting action, a good combo for a film about the most beloved rogue in the Star Wars galaxy (yes, even more beloved than Boba Fett).
As Nate Jones of Vulture pointed out, while there are no shortage of young female stars who could credibly inhabit a young Princess Leia (Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, etc.), it’s not quite as easy to cast a young Han Solo. Ford was iconic in the role because of his unusual mix of masculinity, charm, comedic timing and unpretentious, unforced natural acting ability. This might have something to do with Ford having spent most of his pre-Star Wars years as a carpenter—casting him was one of Lucas's major coups in the original. As Jones pointed out in his piece, the obvious choice, Chris Pratt, is already older than Ford was when Star Wars debuted, and Oscar Isaac, who has loads of raffish charisma, is already in the upcoming Force Awakens.
Perhaps you’ve got someone you think could ably portray a young Solo (he’d have to be in his early 20s, or thereabouts)—we're all ears, as we can't think of anyone. This doesn't mean he's not out there, or the role will be impossible to fill, it just means it'll likely be an unknown, which would be fitting considering Ford was unknown before he took on Solo. While whoever gets cast won't have to have the same exact mixture of cockiness, charm and vulnerability that Ford brought to the role, he will have to embody all that we've come to love about Han Solo, includling his ability to steal every scene he's in without seeming like he's trying to. Watch some of these iconic Solo moments to refresh your memory on what the galactic smuggler brought to the table:
Can they pronounce “Mellinium Falcon” in quite this weird of a way?
Ford’s semi-weird pronunciation of “falcon” notwithstanding, look how quickly he commands the screen, which is not nothing considering he’s sharing with a legendary British actor in Alec Guinness, the protagonist of the film in Luke Skywalker, and an 8-foot tall Wookie:
Can they drop unforced humor into action scenes?
Listen to the way Ford changes his voice when he taps into the Stormtrooper’s PA system to tell them that everything’s fine and normal, then becomes the first Stormtrooper in galactic history to inquire about another Stormtrooper's feelings.
Or how about here, after Han’s released from the carbonite block and still has the energy to make fun of Luke, even while blind.
Stay natural amid a ton of CGI?
Anyone acting in the Marvel universe, the Star Wars galaxy or any blockbuster with a mega budget has to do so against green screens and all manner of invisible data (CGI enemies, CGI starships, CGI earthquakes, etc.), and while plenty of actors are great at this, Ford was able to make it not only feel credible, but that it was all a big puzzle he was solving in real time. Of all of Han Solo’s attributes, figuring his way out of a jam (often one of his own devising) at the last possible second might be his strongest, and anyone playing him will have to sell this as well, often while interacting with things that aren't really there.
Can they show just a smidge of vulnerability?
As much of a cad as Han was in his single days, Leia surely got to him, and as Ford demonstrates briefly here, seeing Lando flirt with his love is just a little too much for the former galactic bachelor.
Featured image: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Film Frame. Courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd. TM. All Right Reserved.