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Just because J.J. Abrams managed to bring Han Solo back from cinematic purgatory, turning him into a major component of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, doesn’t mean that the Star Trek director is some kind of Han Whisperer, with all of the secrets on how to present the character from which future filmmakers can draw. But Abrams obviously does know a little bit about Han Solo, so asking him advice on how to play the character in a future Han movie isn’t completely far-fetched and silly.
We know that Han Solo is expected to lead a Young Han Solo movie in 2018, with co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller narrowing down their search recently to about a dozen actors. During a recent chat with Variety, J.J. Abrams was asked if he had any input into the selection of the actor tasked with playing a younger version of Han Solo, and while he admitted that he has no say in that matter, he did offer this advice to whomever is cast in the coveted role. Said Abrams:
Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’ll all be right there.
Now, that’s a bit of misdirection, wouldn’t you think? Why wouldn’t J.J. Abrams recommend the original Star Wars movies? If not A New Hope, then definitely The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, when Ford was really figuring out the heroic and sarcastic Rebel leader? I mean, isn’t this the quintessential Han Solo scene?
However, there is a lot to be said for going back and studying Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Ford donned the vintage leather jacket and signature fedora for Steven Spielberg in 1981, shortly after Empire Strikes Back. It was a classic period for Ford, who’d spend the next few years working on masterpieces like Blade Runner and additional Star Wars and Indiana Jones sequels. His personality and attitude shone through in Raiders, and Ford did bring a sense of "space pirate" to the role of Han Solo… not a sci-fi hero, but an Old West anti-hero who just happened to be caught in a galaxy battle.
Also, recommending anyone go back and study Raiders of the Lost Ark for ANY reason is simply good advice.
The Young Han Solo movie has some time to develop, as it arrives in theaters after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII. Who do you think they should cast as young Han? Weigh in below.