Al Pacino Turned Down The Role Of Han Solo, Hear His Star Wars Story

Al Pacino turned down playing Han Solo in Star Wars because he didn't understand it.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

al pacino

Imagine if instead of yelling “Yahoooo!” during the Death Star trench run, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo yelled “Hoo-ah!” Apparently, that was almost a reality as Al Pacino recently revealed that he turned down the role of Han Solo. During a talk in New York, Pacino said, “Well, I turned down Star Wars,” adding, “They gave me a script called Star Wars’… They offered me so much money,” concluding with, “I don’t understand it.” (via Variety)

As Al Pacino tells it, Hollywood was handing him roles left and right back then, so Han Solo was far from the only offer he got. He also joked, ” I gave Harrison Ford a career,” so clearly, he’s not taking the decision too hard. While Pacino never ended up appearing in the Star Wars franchise, he had plenty of huge, popular roles and blockbusters outside of the galaxy far, far away.

Still, Al Pacino as Han Solo would have certainly given the character a different flavor. Before the release of Star Wars in 1977, Pacino had already starred in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Dog Day Afternoon. Undoubtedly, he was a highly in-demand star, and it’s not too surprising that he was pursued to play everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder.

While Al Pacino was a huge Hollywood star when he was offered the part of Han Solo, Harrison Ford was essentially an unknown quantity. Which meant he could imbue the character with all of that roguish charm without having any expectations put on him. If Pacino had been in the role, it’s definitely possible that audiences may not have been able to immerse themselves in the world as well.

Al Pacino as Han Solo would have been a little distracting, as George Lucas cast relative unknowns for the entire main cast, which likely helped audiences see these actors as the characters they played (for many years after). No one knew who Mark Hamill was, but he was undoubtedly Luke Skywalker from the moment he watched the twin suns set. Meanwhile, Carrie Fisher immediately stood out as the headstrong Leia and Harrison perfectly imbued Solo with a rogue-like swagger.

Star Wars Han Solo

Still, Lucas made sure to have heavyweights like Alec Guinness on board to lend Star Wars some real acting credibility. Presumably, Al Pacino as Han Solo would have helped bring some attention to the film. Of course, it turns out extra attention wasn’t really needed, as the franchise has become one of the most beloved, popular, and profitable IPs of all time.

Plus, you never know if Al Pacino taking on the role of Han Solo could have changed his career trajectory. In the years following the release of Star Wars, Pacino would sign on for all-time great projects like Scarface, Heat, Carlito’s Way, and many more. If you ask Ford and Pacino if they would change anything about their careers, you’d probably get a no from both parties.

It’s hard to see anyone except Al Pacino in the roles he’s played, and it’s hard to see anyone but Harrison Ford as Han Solo. The cards played out the way they did, and Hollywood history is all the better for it. If you want to check out Pacino’s most recent project, you can catch Season 2 of The Hunters on Amazon Prime Video.

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