The history of Hollywood if full of “What Ifs.” What if Freddie Prinze Jr. was Spider-Man? What if Jeremy Irons played Hannibal Lector? What if Carey Grant was the first James Bond? What if Johnny Depp landed the part of Ferris Beuller? What if Eric Stoltz stayed Marty McFly? The list of such now outlandish seeming scenarios, where another actor almost played an iconic role, is damn near endless. One of the most intriguing of these is the possibility that Al Pacino could have been Han Solo. If you’ve ever wondered what that might look like, with Pacino bringing a little Scarface style menace to the role, check out this animated clip.
Just a warning if you’re watching this at work, keep the volume low, there’s a swear.
This is the latest video in the “What Almost Was” series from the folks over at Mashed, and in this version of the infamous cantina standoff with Greedo, there’s no doubt, not even a shadow, that Han shot first, and second, and then kept right on shooting until everyone around them was very, very dead. This is just a piece of the larger clip, but it’s enough to give you the general idea of what’s going on, and you can subscribe to their YouTube feed to see the whole thing if you’re so inclined.
It was long rumored that Pacino had been offered the role as everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder, though he never said much about it until last fall, confirming that the part was dangled in front of him. He said it was in a post Godfather world where he was being offered damn near every part, whether he was right for it or not. He even added that it didn’t seem like they cared if he could act or not for many of these roles. Ultimately, Pacino turned down Star Wars because he said the script confused him and he didn’t quite know what to make of it.
But he wasn’t the only one Lucas and company were interested in for the Han role. Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Burt Reynolds, and James Caan were all in contention at various points. What the guys at Mashed really need to do is get together a cartoon that imagines Burt Reynolds, in his full late 1970s glory, as Han. That’s something I can truly get behind. Now it’s impossible to imagine anyone but Harrison Ford playing the dashing space rogue, but this is definitely something to consider.