I have mixed feelings about George Lucas returning to science fiction. His previous film, American Graffiti, is likely to become an American classic, while his film before that, the sci-fi flick THX 1138, is an almost unbearable slog. However, his upcoming feature, Star Wars, is rumored to have more of a “space opera”, “mythological” vibe to it. Nevertheless, a new piece of casting has me concerned about what Lucas has planned.
Word has surfaced that Lucas has cast Harrison Ford to play “Han Solo” in Star Wars. Maybe Lucas wants lesser names, but I’m dubious on Ford. As we saw in American Graffiti, the guy has charisma (even though he wasn’t even willing to cut his hair, and decided to wear a cowboy hat to cover it up) and did a nice, minor turn in The Conversation. But reportedly, he’s not Lucas’ first choice for the role. Far from it. Ford was apparently doing carpentry work for Lucas and just reading with other actors.
Let me repeat that: George Lucas is hiring his carpenter . And not even a carpenter on a movie. His home carpenter. Is there a role for his gardener? Perhaps his housekeeper can be a strong supporting character. I want to trust his wisdom, and while I know Ford has acting experience, so does every waiter in Hollywood. Ford isn’t even a “discovery”. This isn’t “Introducing Harrison Ford”. He’s a carpenter and one who hasn’t been phenomenal as an actor.
What’s even stranger is that it’s been rumored that Solo is a big, green alien monster. Maybe Ford will bulk up for the role, but it just seems an incredibly odd choice, although this could be an incredibly odd movie. Solo’s pal is some kind of bear-creature called a “Wookee”.
Look, after American Graffiti, I’m up for whatever Lucas wants to do. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt and then some, but sci-fi—even sci-fi that’s drastically different from THX 1138—may not be his foray. The more we hear about Star Wars, the weirder it seems. The plot seems to involve crystals and characters with weird names like “Han Solo”, “Anakin Skywalker”, and “Cos Dashit”. There’s literally a character whose name sounds like “Cause the shit.”
Godspeed, Mr. Lucas. Godspeed.