Note to Disney: Young Han Solo should not look like he belongs in a boy band

To cleanse the palate, nothing good can come of this.

Except for Disney executives, who’ll finally be able to buy those second yachts they’ve had their eyes on.

Disney and Lucasfilm are inching closer to finding their young Han Solo for the upcoming untitled “Star Wars” spinoff.

Sources tell Variety that after seeing thousands of actors, execs have cut the list down to about a dozen actors with Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, “Brooklyn” star Emory Cohen and “Everybody Wants Some” actor Blake Jenner among the names making the cut…

The film does not shoot until next January, but sources close to the situation say the reason for such an early decision has more to do with another “Star Wars” film currently shooting, rather than the untitled “Han Solo” pic. While insiders were unable to confirm, the new Solo could have a small cameo in “Rogue One: A Star Wars” before appearing in his own standalone pic.

I couldn’t pick any of those people out of a line-up, which itself seems disqualifying for a character as iconic as Han. If forced to choose I’d pick Eastwood, purely because his pedigree suggests he’d have some inborn handle on what Han is about — allthough, thinking about it further, Han Solo and The Man With No Name are about as different personality-wise as cowboys can be. Anyway, I think there’s an unspoken assumption among fans (not just of “Star Wars” but in any film genre) that the greater a character’s stature is, the more stature a new actor playing him should bring to the role. It’s not just about playing the part well, it’s about respecting the character’s cultural reach by refusing to entrust him to any old schmo. I’ve always thought that was a problem with casting Hayden Christensen as Anakin. It’s not that he was terrible, it’s that he wasn’t fantastic, which is what you need to be to answer the doubt in viewers’ minds that a nobody should forever be associated in our cultural memory with Darth Farking Vader. In hindsight, had they gone out and gotten Leonardo DiCaprio or Matt Damon or some other respected young A-list actor for the part, the prequels would probably enjoy a *somewhat* — emphasis on “somewhat” — better reputation than they do now. Is Dave Franco or Logan Lerman going to make you think, “Make room, Harrison”?

The supposition going into a film about young Han Solo will be “there’s only one Han,” but Disney doesn’t care about that because they’ve got a few billion dollars’ worth of gold sitting in the cultural soil, just waiting to be mined by a string of new movies. You need an A-lister for total fan satisfaction but you don’t need one to get their money. Better to get someone who’s young than really famous: They’ll be more willing to commit to a series of movies; they’ll avoid the problem of the new Han quickly aging past Ford circa Episode IV; and they’ll ideally appeal to a younger generation of “Star Wars” fans, which is where the long-term box office is. It may be, frankly, that there simply aren’t any twentysomething A-list actors nowadays with the sort of louche, winking leading-man charm that Ford brought to the role. The closest thing might be Chris Pratt, who’s already older than Ford was when the original “Star Wars” was made. As it is, click on the Variety link up top and look at the photo; those guys look like they should be trying out for One Direction, not for the guy who pilots the Millennium Falcon. Frankly, even if you could land an actor with the appropriate stature to play Han, I think the whole idea of a backstory is flawed. Who wants to see Han Solo, the formative years? The whole appeal of the character is that he’s a heroic archetype, the daring yet good-hearted outlaw whom lesser men can only aspire to be. You don’t become someone like that, you just are. A movie about his youth would be like a “Rhett Butler, the college years” prequel to “Gone With the Wind.”

Look on the bright side, though. If “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” had been well received, LaBoeuf would probably be a lock for this part. Thank heaven for small favors.

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