Why Did Al Pacino Turn Down Han Solo Role In ‘Star Wars’?

Star Wars is a franchise where fan-casting has (sometimes) actually worked. Rosario Dawson nabbed the role of Ahsoka because Lucasfilm executive producer Dave Filoni saw fan art online—then promptly asked her to appear in The Mandalorian. Had fans known about the power of photoshop and social media back in 1977, we could’ve pushed for Al Pacino in space as well.

During a recent, career-spanning talk at The 92nd Street Y in New York City, the Hunters star casually reminded everyone that he was offered—and promptly turned down—the role of Han Solo in Star Wars before George Lucas and co. reached out to Harrison Ford. “When I first came up, I was the new kid on the block, you know what happens when you first become famous. It’s like, ‘Give it to Al.’ They’d give me Queen Elizabeth to play,” Pacino said, according to Variety. “They gave me a script called Star Wars… They offered me so much money. I don’t understand it. I read it… So I said I couldn’t do it. I gave Harrison Ford a career.”

Pacino would have been fresh off roles in Serpico, The Godfather Part II and Dog Day Afternoon, later choosing Cruising and Scarface over the Star Wars trilogy. But I still can’t help imagining him Hoo-ah!-ing around the Millennium Falcon. He’d get full revenge on the Sith like Michael Corleone, point his laser blaster at space pirates, and yell, “Say hello to my little friend!” The dream. There’s two things I know for sure about Han Solo-Pacino: he would have never been frozen in carbonite, and he definitely would have shot first.

Still, maybe Filoni can offer him a cameo in The Mandalorian. Something similar to Season Three, Episode Six‘s appearances from Christopher Lloyd, Jack Black, and Lizzo. Han Solo could have had a brother, a father, or even just a distant cousin. You never know! Nearly 50 years later, we now have the power of the Internet to make this happen.

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Assistant Editor

Josh Rosenberg is an Assistant Editor at Esquire, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day. His past work can be found at Spin, CBR, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.

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