Han Solo, the intergalactic smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars played by Harrison Ford, has long been a favorite of movie fans around the world—even those who wouldn’t consider themselves to be Star Wars fanatics. Now, he’s getting his own origin story as part of an anthology of Star Wars spinoff films that Disney is developing alongside J.J. Abrams’s Episode VII – The Force Awakens. (One of the others, called Rogue One, is about the origin of the Death Star, and another is rumored to be a Boba Fett backstory).
The untitled solo Solo film will be released in 2018 and directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the duo behind The Lego Movie and the rebooted 21 Jump Street franchise. The question on everyone’s minds, though, is who will play Han Solo? What actor can possibly inhabit a young Harrison Ford? How young does he have to be, exactly? Ford was about 33 when he first filmed Star Wars, so probably younger than that.
No matter which actor gets the role, his work will be cut out for him. There are bound to be scores of disappointed fans who think there simply is no replicating Ford’s performance as Han Solo. And they’ll be right. But the role will be cast one way or another, and there are a few talented young actors out there who just might be charming, charismatic, and jocular enough to honor Ford’s character and make for a convincing Han Solo.
Here are Quartz’s picks:
Looks like Ford? Sort of.
Egerton is coming off his ridiculously charismatic performance as a secret agent in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Some compared him directly to Ford in that role. He was rumored to be on the short list to play Solo as far back as February.
Looks like Ford? Not really.
Kitsch is probably a little too old for the role. Not to mention, he has likely been banned from Disney productions following the flop of John Carter. But he played an excellent charismatic rebel in NBC’s Friday Night Lights, and is currently doing solid work as a brooding highway cop with a secret on HBO’s True Detective, so we think he might make for an acceptable Han Solo.
Looks like Ford? Ever so slightly?
O’Connell gave an electric performance as a violent teenager sent to an adult prison in Starred Up, and then followed that up with a more heroic turn as American prisoner of war Louis Zamperini in Unbroken. He clearly has the presence and range necessary to play a character like Han Solo.
Looks like Ford? Nope.
Sheridan’s name is slowly gaining traction. At age 15, he was phenomenal opposite Matthew McConaughey in Mud. He also appeared in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, and is set to star in both The Stanford Prison Experiment and X-Men: Apocalypse. There’s a chance that he’s too young for the role, but if the story calls for a teenage Solo, Sheridan should be the guy.
Looks like Ford? Not really.
Like Kitsch, Paul is probably too old, although he can play younger than his age. He won three Emmy awards for his role as burnout meth dealer Jesse Pinkman in AMC’s Breaking Bad. He’s got the personality and the acting chops to pull it off. The question is if the role calls for a younger actor.
Looks like Ford? He doesn’t at first, but if you look long enough, he starts to.
Hoult is another name that is slowly gaining traction. He played Beast in the recent X-Men films, appeared in Mad Max: Fury Road as the deranged “War Boy” Nux, and is slated to be in four other films this calendar year. He also used to date Jennifer Lawrence, but we’re not sure how that factors into anything, other than his popularity. Hoult is a good young actor who’s gaining prominence at the right time.
Looks like Ford? Not completely unlike him.
Hedlund has gone under the radar despite having major roles in a number of films, ranging from On the Road to Inside Llewyn Davis to Unbroken. He’ll play Captain Hook in the upcoming Pan. Judging by his past roles, he has some charisma, and certainly has the looks.
Looks like Ford? Not one bit.
Teller is one of the best young actors working today. His star-making performance as a fiercely single-minded drummer in Whiplash has him at the top of many short lists. But he also has the comedic background that would help when playing Solo. We’ll know if he can truly pull it off after he plays Mr. Fantastic in Fantastic Four, coming out in August.
Looks like Ford? Yes!
Next to nothing is known about Ingruber apart from the fact that he has already played a young Harrison Ford in the recent movie Age of Adaline. He looks like Ford, and can do a halfway decent impression of the man, but will that be enough to land the Han Solo role? Probably not. But there are far worse options.
Looks like Ford? Vaguely.
Okay, Holloway is too old. But he basically played the modern-day Han Solo as the sarcastic con man Sawyer in the ABC series Lost. If, for whatever reason, Disney decides to make the film about a middle-aged Solo, Holloway must be cast.
Looks like Harrison Ford? Is Harrison Ford.
They did it for Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys, so why not use a little Hollywood magic on Ford and make him some 40 years younger? Given that Old Man Ford literally broke his leg filming Episode VII, we think his window for doing a full Han Solo movie has likely closed. But he’d better make a cameo.
A complete unknown
There’s a distinct possibility that the actor cast as the young Solo will be a total no-name actor desperate to escape a life of carpentry.