Fake Star Wars audition tapes have been commonplace since Saturday Night Live hit the idea out of the park back in 1997. The filmed skit took the idea of various actors auditioning for the roles of Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and more and turned it into a recurring comedy piece that’s now gone through several iterations. The first skit made great use of Kevin Spacey’s impression skills, having him take on the role of Christopher Walken, Jack Lemmon, and even Walter Matthau, as the famed actors took a shot at joining the cast of the then-unknown film that would launch a mega-franchise.
Since the Star Wars film franchise has been back in the limelight, following the runaway success of The Force Awakens, while upcoming films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Episode VIII: Still Waiting For a Subtitle, and the young Han Solo film, it’s no surprise that the series would garner some attention while San Diego Comic-Con was in full swing. Even though there were no major Star Wars announcements made during the event, that didn’t mean those like Conan who’ve made pop culture their business weren’t talking about – or having a laugh thanks to – news surrounding the franchise.
As most are aware, Conan O’Brien taped several live shows during SDCC, and one of them happened to take advantage of the recent casting of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo. The skit featured the likes of Bill Hader, Will Arnett, Melissa McCarthy, and even 50 Cent as they gave landing the coveted role the old college try. Instead of capitalizing on the humor of seeing famous actors try out for roles they are impossibly ill-suited for, Conan’s skit focused instead on actors with a knack for improve, as they demonstrated their unsuitability to play the roguish smuggler.
The skit is fairly long, but considering the talent involved, it’s hard to imagine anyone will complain. While Hader brings his bizarrely precise impressions of a TaunTaun and Jabba the Hut into an ongoing joke of every character in the Han Solo: The Early Years movie being an obnoxious teenager, McCarthy plays up the idea that she’s never seen one of the films and has them confused with the Harry Potter franchise. Letting comedians riff on their off-kilter takes on the upcoming film definitely brings some laughs, but Conan brings on a few more celebrities to point out that it’s never a bad idea to get the audience excited with an unexpected cameo.
Case in point: a surprisingly foul-mouthed Jodie Foster makes a humorous play for the role, while Kumail Nanjiani follows fellow Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch to suggest maybe when Han Solo was young he was also Pakistani. Meanwhile, Adam, Sandler, Fifty Cent, and Jeff Goldblum show up to try their hands at the part. The latter three are especially funny since it’s not hard to imagine them being prime targets for sendups by an especially gifted impressionist like Kevin Spacey.
Nevertheless, Conan proves that watching famous people try and fail to nab roles in Star Wars films is and probably forever will be pretty funny to watch.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IXin 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.