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The news that Disney is planning not only a Star Wars Episode VII but many potential Star Wars spinoffs has geek brains spinning. All those new stories you've wanted to see about Han or Luke or Leia or Boba Fett or Jabba the Hutt? Those can actually happen now, on the big screen, with big-name directors and giant budgets. Disney paid a lot of money for Lucasfilm and is going to make good on that investment, and in this heated moment where nothing has actually gone into production, the sky really is the limit for new Star Wars stories.
Today's news that Boba Fett and Han Solo were both up for their own spinoffs found a way to crank all this speculation up to 11. Suddenly all the people who had read stories about young Han Solo or imagined their own could hope to see it all come true on the big screen. And it also presented a major problem: who on earth could live up to the legacy of not just Harrison Ford's performance, but the myth that has emerged around the character in the meantime?
The Han Solo origin story, if it actually comes out the way they're planning now, would take place sometime between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Harrison Ford was 35 when Star Wars was released in 1977, so whoever gets cast in the origin story has to be at least somewhat younger than that, though presumably not a child-- hopefully they've learned from Jake Lloyd that meeting a famous Star Wars character as a child is a dead end. There are hundreds if not thousands of young, white actors polishing up their resumes right now for a chance to audition for the part, and a shortlist of the usual suspects who have popped up in recent blockbusters and might make a good fit-- Sam Claflin, Alex Pettyfer, Liam Hemsworth, Armie Hammer, Dane DeHaan and Chris Evans may have their own franchises to tend, but someone is definitely already talking about them in a casting office somewhere.
I've already got one name in mind, though, and he's someone with his own franchise but with the potential for a whole lot more. Garrett Hedlund appeared to basically be a block of wood at the center of Tron: Legacy, but showed enormous talent in last year's On the Road, playing the mercurial, witty and deeply charismatic Dean Moriarty. It was a magnetic performance, the best part of a pretty good film that was sadly overlooked, and the kind of thing that makes you sit up and say "That guy's a movie star." Hey, kind of like Harrison Ford's first appearance as Han Solo.
Hedlund is 29 and could play younger if need be, and has both the good looks and the physicality to convincingly grow up to become Harrison Ford. I've been running through a mental list of all the up-and-coming actors to fit the part, and Hedlund is the best idea I've thought of yet. But that's where you guys come in! Tell us in the comments who you think would be best-- and if this origin story ever does come to fruition, maybe one of us will wind up being right.