One of the most iconic (and merchandized) characters of all time is coming back in a big way this December, when the Star Wars saga makes its triumphant return under the leadership of Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Disney in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. We are, of course, referring to the one and only Han Solo, the lovable anti-heroic scoundrel who helped millions of fans enjoy many adventures in a galaxy far, far away.
Han Solo put actor Harrison Ford on the map, helping him land the lead part as Indiana Jones for many years as well, and will soon return as the aged Rebel Alliance hero with his most loyal pal Chewbacca at his side. He’s also returning once again in 2018, when a new actor will take over the iconic role…
Yes, the rumors and reports were true all along and another Star Wars Anthology became official last month – one that’s set to open in theaters May 25, 2018. This additional Star Wars story will tell the tale of “how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel.” But who will play him? Director pair Christopher Miller and Phil Lord of The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street fame will work with Disney and Lucasfilm to find an actor to step into the boots of Solo.
Harrison Ford was 34, almost 35, when Star Wars – A New Hope opened in theaters July 1977, so logically Lucasfilm will be looking for a younger star to portray a young Han Solo, especially if it’s possible this young Solo could appear in other Anthology films. We’ll run with that as a baseline, given that Kathleen Kennedy told EW that the new Han Solo will most likely be played by someone in their late teens or early twenties.
Without further ado, here are Screen Rant’s 20 actors who can play young Han Solo in the Star Wars Anthology films.
- Age: 25
- Most Notable Roles: Harrison Ford YouTube impressions, The Age of Adaline
Anthony Ingruber earned a YouTube following for a masterful impression of Harrison Ford which ultimately led to him being cast as a young version of Ford’s character in The Age of Adaline. He has the look and the voice, but not the filmography of a leading man. Would Disney want an impressionist to carry on the iconic Han Solo, and could Ingruber make it his own? He’s the right age and has everything except the experience. Perhaps he just needs to nail some screen tests and auditions to impress Lord and Miller.
- Age: 18
- Most Notable Roles: Joe, Mud, X-Men: Apocalypse
Young Tye Sheridan is an actor studios should aim to sign now to lengthy multi-picture franchise deals, because he’s about to become an A-list star. Sheridan earned a lot of critical acclaim for his roles in Joe and Mud, which helped him land the career-defining role as Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops for next summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse and its potential sequels and spinoffs. He’ll also appear this fall in the the R-rated comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. He may be a little shy with the media and on stage at Comic-Con, but the young man can act. The rest will come with time.
- Age: 23
- Most Notable Roles: Project X, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Launching a career with his role in Project X, Thomas Mann has been incredibly busy ever since with nearly 20 film credits to his name released or in development. Mann earned much praise for his work in this year’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and now is highly sought after for films of any genre. He’s likeable, can seemingly play any character, and can lead a film. If he can bulk up a tad, we can picture him as a young, ambitious scoundrel getting his own starship.
- Age: 25
- Most Notable Roles: The Hunger Games, The Expendables 2
Much like his slightly older brother Chris, Liam Hemsworth is already a bankable star at his young age. He’s proven himself worthy of massive tentpole studio franchises (The Hunger Games series and the upcoming Independence Day trilogy) and can lead his own projects (Empire State, Paranoia) – the latter of which he actually starred alongside Harrison Ford. Hemsworth has the charisma, action chops and looks to play the man who saved Chewbacca and earned the most loyal of companions.
- Age: 27
- Most Notable Roles: High School Musical, That Awkward Moment, Neighbors
Pretty boy Zac Efron redefined himself in recent years with impressive work in rom-com That Awkward Moment and drama The Lucky One, and he’s continuing on track to be a bankable celebrity in Hollywood, especially now that he’ll be co-starring alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the upcoming Baywatch movie. Efron is quickly become a star who can sell to any audience and there’s no doubt he plays well on screen. We like the idea of him piloting the Millennium Falcon and arguing with Chewie.
- Age: 22
- Most Notable Roles: Bridge to Terabithia, The Hunger Games
It’s hard to believe, with all of the notable works on his resume, that Josh Hutcherson is only 22 years of age. Hutcherson was born to act and has been since he was 10. From family adventures Zathura: A Space Adventure, The Polar Express, and Journey to the Center of the Earth in his early years to the more serious Red Dawn and Hunger Games films, Hutcherson is a recognizable young star around the world now and can carry his own films. He was even up for the role of The Amazing Spider-Man. Could Star Wars be his career-defining gig?
- Age: 28
- Most Notable Roles: Weeds, The Following
Already a bit of a TV veteran for his series-long lead role in Weeds and more recently, his stints on The Good Wife and The Following, Hunter Parrish has had his fair share of supporting parts in notable films as well, including Paper Man and 17 Again. The young star has the look, the voice (he’s a singer!) and the talent to break out as a lead star and we see a little bit of old school Han Solo in him.
- Age: 20
- Most Notable Roles: Melissa & Joey, Jurassic World
It doesn’t hurt having a key role in one of the biggest movies of all-time around the same time a Han Solo movie is announced. Nick Robinson is most well-known for his role in the ongoing sitcom Melissa & Joey, but had a breakout part as the oddly annoying teenager in Jurassic World – a role that thankfully saw the character slowly become a responsible big brother by the end. We don’t know yet if he’ll be back alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in the sequel, but we expect to see him in other big films in the future.
- Age: 27
- Most Notable Roles: 1600 Penn, The Flash, The DUFF
Robbie Amell, cousin of Arrow star Stephen Amell, has earned a lot of geek cred in recent years for his roles in The Tomorrow People, The Flash, and for landing a part as a new character in the upcoming X-Files Revival series. Don’t let his stern and dry role as the conflicted Firestorm in The Flash fool you; Amell changed our perspective entirely on his charm and leading man potential with his lovable part in The DUFF and we hope to see him land more big film roles in the future.
- Age: 26
- Most Notable Roles: Oculus, The Signal, The Giver
Brenton Thwaites has been a very busy working actor the last two years and is only getting busier after having landed a role in the upcoming sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Yes, he’s already in the Disney family, so why not self-promote and keep Thwaites around long-term with another franchise part in a Star Wars Anthology film? He’s got the look, the experience, and screen presence (he can even rock the Han Solo clothes). We expect big things from Thwaites’ career, whether that includes a role in a galaxy far, far away or not.
- Age: 28
- Most Notable Roles: The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Royals
William Moseley is most well-known for his role as the noble and heroic Peter Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia film series and has been steadily working on smaller projects since. The likeable and handsome star is ready for another epic franchise and we can picture Star Wars being just that for the British actor. In the meantime, moviegoers should look out for Moseley appearing opposite Sean Bean, Rupert Grint, and James D’Arcy in Enemy of Man – an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
- Age: 28
- Most Notable Roles: Whiplash, Divergent Series, Footloose, Project X
Miles Teller is one of the most famous rising stars on this list and despite the failure of Fantastic Four (of which Jamie Bell, another member of this list, also starred in) to launch a franchise for the actor, Teller is going to be an A-lister in Hollywood for a long, long time. In fact, he arguably deserved an Oscar nod for his work in last year’s hit Whiplash. He still has a key part in the Divergent series and numerous other works in development, building off a resume which proves how talented Teller is at handling drama and comedy. His widely publicized demeanor (thanks to Esquire) and some of his past roles lend him to playing the perfect anti-heroic scoundrel known as Han Solo.
- Age: 21
- Most Notable Roles: Divergent Series, The Fault in Our Stars
Ansel Elgort stars alongside Miles Teller in the Divergent series, but the young actor’s real acting chops came to light in the hit Fault in Our Stars, where we got to see the emotional and dramatic side only hinted at in Divergent and its sequel. Elgort’s a charming, witty and extremely talented young actor who’s ready for more leading parts, and we can absolutely picture him carrying a big budget epic with lofty expectations such as Star Wars.
- Age: 23
- Most Notable Roles: Romeo & Juliet, Noah, Jupiter Ascending
Douglas Booth’s first space fantasy role in Jupiter Ascending was a weird one in an even weirder movie, but don’t let that detract from his acting chops. The young Brit actor plays mature with ease, and while he’s lesser known, that may be exactly what recasting Han Solo may need – especially if Disney and Lucasfilm are looking for an actor to bring their own take to the character.
- Age: 28
- Most Notable Roles: Gossip Girl, Easy A
Penn Badgley is on the older end of the age range of actors on our Han Solo candidates list, but he comes in with plenty of experience, most of which is on TV. With over 120 episodes over six years on Gossip Girl and roles in several other television series prior, Badgley is a hard-working talent who’s racked up quite a few film credits to his name as well. And now he’s the front man to his own band that’s on tour. Does a bad boy rock star fit the bill as a young galactic smuggler?
- Age: 27
- Most Notable Roles: Lords of Dogtown, Haywire, Rugrats, Empire State
Michael Angarano has been acting non-stop since he was eight years of age and has proven himself capable of handling any role, whether they embrace high-tension drama or over-the-top fun, and anything in between. Angarano is certainly on the older side of our list and may not look like Harrison Ford, but we feel he can act the part and bring something new to it as a leading man.
- Age: 25
- Most Notable Roles: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kick-Ass, Godzilla
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is already a highly accomplished actor for his young age, and a star of multiple blockbusters from Kick-Ass to Godzilla, and of course, this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron for Disney, where he threw on a fictional Eastern European accent for his memorable role as Quicksilver. Taylor-Johnson knows how to do American (and other) accents, can do action, works hard, and has built himself plenty of geek cred in recent years, so we can easily see Disney wanting to work with him on a project such as this – especially if the studio wants to lock him down for other potential Star Wars movies, given his young age.
- Age: 27
- Most Notable Roles: Pitch Perfect 1 & 2, Ground Floor
Skylar Astin made his big break with the surprise hit Pitch Perfect and its blockbuster sequel, where he plays the lovable lead male who can sing, dance and act with the best of them, managing to stand out among a cast of wildly memorable characters. Astin’s charm and charisma – and obvious physicality – suggest he could be an interesting choice to play a younger Han Solo, years before we meet him in Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine.
- Age: 23
- Most Notable Roles: Teen Wolf, The Maze Runner
Already a proven lead star with The Maze Runner franchise on the big screen and Teen Wolf on TV, Dylan O’Brien is a fan-favorite heartthrob who made everyone’s casting wishlist for the new rebooted Spider-Man. He didn’t get that role, being a tad too old to play high school-aged Peter Parker, but he’s the perfect age to play young Han Solo. And the timing works well with the end of The Maze Runner series, opening the doors for another potential franchise for him to lead.
- Age: 25
- Most Notable Roles: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Testament of Youth
Taron Egerton skyrocketed to fame thanks to his lead role in this year’s hit comic book adaptation Kingsman: The Secret Service. His performance helped put the British action star in the running to play Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse and landed the role of Eddie Edwards in the Eddie the Eagle biopic. The likable star is bound to nab many major roles in the near future (including possibly Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Origins) and he’d make a badass starship captain.
The brand, setting and story sell itself when it comes to Star Wars, and despite the immense challenge of recasting Han Solo and having a new version of the character appear on screen so shortly after Harrison Ford reprises the role in Episode VII – The Force Awakens, it’s going to happen. And it’s going to happen soon, likely without a big name star playing the character. With that in mind, A-list actors are unnecessary, especially given that many of the names appearing on fan lists and other publication suggestions are simply too old – many even older than Harrison Ford was in 1977’s Episode IV – A New Hope. So, here’s a list of actors we’ve seen mentioned that we don’t consider realistic candidates but are fun to discuss nonetheless:
- Jamie Bell (28)
- Ryan Gosling (34)
- Chris Pine (35 this week)
- Chris Pratt (36)
- Bradley Cooper (40)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt (34)
- Matt Davis (37)
- Michael Grant Terry (30)
- Sam Claflin (29)
- Chace Crawford (30)
- Theo James (30)
- Garrett Hedlund (30)
- Jim Sturgess (37)
- Taylor Kitsch (34)
- Liam McIntyre (33)
- Matt Lauria (31)
- Shia LaBeouf (29)
- Armie Hammer (29 next week)