A few months ago, Lucasfilm announced their plans to make a Star Wars spin off, focusing on the life of a young Han Solo. The infamous character brought to life by Harrison Ford in the original Star Wars trilogy that were released between 1977 and 1983 has become an icon, and a fan favourite to many generations, especially since his recurral of the role in the reboot of the franchise in Episode VIII: The Force Awakens, that came out last year. Since the announcement of a stand alone film, speculation has been growing about who will be presented with the part to tell the tale of “how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief and scoundrel”.
From the get go there were people complaining that “the only Han Solo is Harrison Ford” and that any other actor playing him would tarnish the character and their love for him. And today, that new actor was revealed to be Alden Ehrenreich. “Han Solo” became the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide, and the majority of the tweets were in complaint.
Mostly because it just wasn’t Harrison Ford.
Many are saying that “the only Han Solo is Harrison Ford try again”, and even “but we all know what young Harrison Ford looks like he was so little in A New Hope” (???). Other actors play younger versions of characters in films all the time. This isn’t news? These points are also mostly irrelevant anyway, as Harrison Ford was 34/35 in his Star Wars debut and this prequel to the character’s story was also planned to show his twenties. Alden Ehrenreich is 26. Frankly the age thing just seems like just one of many excuses.
When Tom Holland was first cast as the new Peter Parker/ Spiderman in Captain America: Civil War, he became a joke. People, still firmly attached to Andrew Garfield, or even Toby Maguire – actors who had previously taken the role, claimed Holland was too young, too inexperienced and would be a total flop. Yet when Civil War rolled in cinema’s last week, the reviews of his portrayal mostly said that he was the best Spiderman yet. I agree with this too but you can hear all about that in my Civil War review: that I was intending to write today but was inspired to write this instead. Don’t worry, it’s coming in the next couple of days.
It happens in e v e r y t h i n g. Every major reboot or film adaptation, people get angsty about the casting announcement before they’ve even seen the actor in the part. It happened with Daniel Craig as James Bond, Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Peter Capaldi as The Doctor in classic BBC show Doctor Who, Robert Pattinson in Twilight, Sebastian Stan as Bucky in the Captain America franchise and even Heath Ledger as The Joker – a role which he was honoured with an Academy Award for. And people all over the world adore the way the characters were brought to life by those actors now.
The hunt for the new Han Solo has been the topic of many a conversation for the year. Huge Hollywood actors the likes of Zac Efron, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Ansel Elgort were in talks of taking on the role – as was basically any other sandy haired 18-25 year old actor in the business. Other favourable actors in the running included Anthony Ingruber, who played a young Harrison Ford in the 2015 film Age of Adaline and who looks exactly like him (side note – Age of Adaline is a beautiful beautiful film and you should watch it immediately). Then there was also Vine star Jamie Costa, whose impressions of Han Solo (as well as many other famous characters and people) earned him a fan petition asking for him to be considered for the role. He is making a fan film though – you can see the teaser trailer for that on his youtube channel here.
Back in March I wrote a review about the film Hail, Caesar!, a film that starred Alden Ehrenreich. I had never seen him in anything previously, and didn’t know him as an actor at all. But I described him as “the heart of the film”, and that Ehrenreich played the part perfectly. Honestly it’s not often that a new actor grabs that much attention from me. I don’t know if there was any talk publicly of him being in the shortlisting for the role of Han Solo but if there was I didn’t hear any of it, so waking up to see that he had been cast was such a brilliant surprise.
In all honesty, the whole lead up to the casting had left me almost completely disinterested in this new Han Solo film. I thought it was a gimmick to make more money and extend the Star Wars saga. But I absolutely see Ehrenreich as Solo, and it really seems like they’ve taken the time to find an actor who would really fit the role, rather than just already be a huge star to give them a big following. I really do have high high hopes.
Basically what I’m trying to say is – stop being petty. Your favourite character is getting his own solo movie (funny little joke there). And you have to give actors a chance. I’m calling it now, Alden Ehrenreich will be beloved worldwide in by the time the film comes out.