Kurt Russell, Christopher Walken and Al Pacino
George Lucas considered lots of options before casting his smug smuggler, Han Solo, in the first Star Wars movie.
The role — which Harrison Ford played in four movies — could have gone to a range of other actors. Lucas was hesitant to cast Ford, then a character actor known for his carpentry talents, because they had previously worked together on American Graffiti and Lucas wanted to use fresh faces.
According to Gina McIntyre’s book Star Wars Icons: Han Solo, Ford read the male parts for dozens of screen tests for other actors and actresses.
Some of the many actors considered to play Han included Christopher Walken and Kurt Russell, who took himself out of consideration — to star in the TV western “The Quest,” which filmed 15 episodes.
"“I said to George one day, ‘Do you know if you’re gonna use me or not, because I’ve got this other show,’” Russell told Access Hollywood in 2017. “I finally came down to Friday and I had to answer and I said, ‘George, I gotta know and he said, ‘I just don’t know.’ And I said, ‘I gotta go and do this television show, this western, I’ve gotta get to work.’”"
The role was also offered to Al Pacino, fresh off the first two Godfather movies. But Pacino passed: “I didn’t understand the script,” he said decades later.
As other actors passed on the role as the “scruffy looking Nerf Herder,” Ford was a constant presence who knew the script about as well as anyone. And by this point, it’s tough to consider anyone else embodying the role the way he has.