Disney’s rumored shortlist for the role of young Han Solo in the upcoming Solo-centric Star Wars spinoff is making its way around the Internet, and fans are none too happy with the candidates. Miles Teller? He thrives playing utterly spineless and unlikable dudes (see: Whiplash, Spectacular Now, Divergent), not charming rebels. Dave Franco? He’s already 30, and is at his best when his frat boy charm is mocked, not embraced (21 Jump Street, Neighbors). And then there’s Ansel Elgort, who is probably better left playing second fiddle to way more badass Shailene Woodley.
Hey, Disney: It’s a trap! You should not cast any of these guys.
The clear solution at this point is to cast a complete unknown. At this point every actor in the galaxy between the ages of 18 and 30 has auditioned for the iconic role. (Seriously, they’ve auditioned 2,500 actors.) And while there are some intriguing prospects—Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek would be mesmerizing, and Michael B. Jordan proved he has the chops in Creed—a newbie is the safest bet. Casting someone with baggage is a risk that’s simply not worth taking. Remember when pre-bag-wearing Shia LeBeouf was tapped to star alongside Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? We do.
For the best case for casting fresh faces, look no further than Star Wars:The Force Awakens. Daisy Ridley was a total unknown, and John Boyega’s only starring part had been in an excellent but little-seen British alien flick called Attack the Block that you should go stream right now. They could completely inhabit their roles without seeming like known quantities. And for kids seeing their first Star Wars film (or at least their first one on a big screen), Boyega and Ridley acted as their eyes and ears. As young adults just entering Hollywood, they represented a whole new generation discovering the Star Wars world—its physics, its dirty ships, its secrets. The Force Awakens can thank those two actors for its box office records and much of the critical praise
(Of course, give due credit to Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac, both of whom were better known actors entering the franchise, though by no means household names. Driver brought his intense brand of angst to villain Kylo Ren, and Oscar Isaac—the Internet’s boyfriend—played the perfect snarky but charming hero. But I don’t think either of them would have worked as the two main heroes because those distinct personalities may have isolated some moviegoers.)
A new generation is inheriting this franchise, so a new spin on Han Solo would be appropriate. Perhaps he’s a little bit uncomfortable with his blaster, still trying to figure out his trademark smirk. A blank slate would be easiest to mold into this new take on an iconic character.
And besides, this is Harrison Ford we’re talking about. The man is now the highest-grossing actor in U.S. movie history and the star of some of the most beloved films of our time. Do we really want the third lead from Neighbors taking on his most iconic character?
That said, Chris Pratt does a damn good Harrison Ford impression. Something to consider.