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Who should play a young Han Solo?


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The list of actors that could potentially play a young Han Solo in his 2018 Star Wars spin-off has just been announced.

The three names that seem to be at the top of the list are Miles Teller of Whiplash and Fantastic Four fame, Ansel Elgort from The Fault in Stars, and Dave Franco, who is currently working with his older brother James on The Disaster Artist. While there are other names in the mix, these three are probably the “biggest”.

So the question remains: who deserves to get the big part; arguably the role of a lifetime?

Let’s start with Elgort. Out of the three, I think he is probably the least likely to be chosen. But this doesn’t mean I dislike him: quite the opposite. His performance in The Fault in Our Stars – arguably his “big break” – was a very emotive and genuine one that was, for me, one of the few positives the film had to offer. And he has even had prior ventures into the sci-fi genre with Fault co-star Shailene Woodley in the Divergent series.

But the main reason that I don’t think he’ll be picked – aside from the fact that he bears little to no resemblance to Harrison Ford – is the way that he is typecast. Naturally, typecasting in Hollywood is a horrible thing, and can be limiting or even damaging to an actor: look at the lengths Judy Garland went to to keep her “innocent little girl” character going. Elgort is a victim of this, although obviously to a far lesser extent.

Due to his “break-out” roles being those of kind-hearted, tragic love interests in both The Fault in Our Stars and Carrie, Elgort has since almost always been that sweet, wholesome, baby-faced protagonist or supporting character. There’s nothing wrong with these types of performances, but if someone’s going to play Han Solo – an anti-hero character that constantly rides the line between righteousness and selfishness – they’d probably need experience playing a wider array of character traits. I’m sure Elgort may be able to pull it off given the chance, but given his recent work, it’s likely not a role well-suited to him. Sorry.

Dave Franco probably has a slightly better chance at getting the part. Although the majority of his professional filmography contains comedies like Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Warm Bodies and Bad Neighbours, his lead role in the upcoming drama-thriller Nerve could establish Franco as a legitimate and serious actor. And it’s that kind of credibility that you need if hardcore fans are going to take you seriously as one of the most iconic characters in film.

His upcoming collaboration with brother James in The Disaster Artist – an adaptation of Greg Sestero’s book based on the production of The Room – could also see Dave become an actor of great commercial success. I truly believe that Franco – based on his upcoming projects – is about to see a huge rise from supporting actor in teen-orientated comedies to legitimate, A-list star. And landing the role of Han Solo could truly add a rocket or two to the actor’s ascension of the ranks.

Finally, let’s talk about Miles Teller. I would bet my bursaries that this is who we’ll see taking the place of Harrison Ford in 2018. Firstly, he has the look – even down to him and Ford both sharing a similar-looking, small scar on their chin. Secondly, Teller has proven his versatility as an actor, going from a determined, single-minded student in Whiplash to scientist-turned-reluctant superhero in Fantastic Four (a film which is an experience as enjoyable as chewing glass, but I digress). Speaking of Fantastic Four, let us not forget that that film’s production company – Marvel Studios – and Lucasfilm are now both owned by the same entity.

So this is a young actor with aesthetic similarities to Harrison Ford and a proven, broad range that Disney already has a keen eye on. How can Miles Teller not get the part at this point? Thanks to his background, Teller will be a box office draw for both mainstream and indie film fans. Getting Teller into that role would be nothing short of a genius move on the part of Disney as he is the only actor on the shortlist that could potentially bring new eyes to the Han Solo film: the eyes of the anti-blockbuster, independent crowd that he has already won over with his leading role in Whiplash.

So out of the shortlist we’ve been given by Lucasfilm, Miles Teller probably has a 99% chance of landing that role of a lifetime in 2018. And you know what? That’s just fine with me.

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