"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."
There's still at least a year to go before Lucasfilm begins shooting its Han Solo spin-off movie, but amid the conjecture about how it'll play out, one fact is unavoidable: unless a pill to reverse the passage of time hits Californian pharmacies sometime soon, Harrison Ford won't be reprising his iconic role. Naturally, that's led to endless speculation as to who might land the gig of Indiana-Jones-in-space Jr. which has ramped up even more now THR has revealed a finalish shortlist. Among the many thousands of hopefuls to be screen tested, Kingsman’s Taron Egerton and Hail, Caesar!’s Alden Ehrenreich are currently favourites, but there's still plenty of other actors who could potentially bag this role of a lifetime. Check out the top contenders and let us know who you think should be the next Han Solo.
Starred in: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Legend, Eddie the Eagle Need to know: After making his big screen debut in 2014, Taron Egerton was still an unknown. That is until he bagged the lead role in Kingsman: The Secret Service opposite Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson. A huge success the spy movie capitulated its lead to stardom and saw him take on roles in Legend with Tom Hardy, Billionaire Boys Club with Kevin Spacey, and Eddie the Eagle with Hugh Jackman. Impressive. Han Solo-factor: This is a classic case of too much of a good thing. Although I can totally see Egerton as Han, he might be too well known at this point. Brad Pitt he ain't, but he's not an unknown either anymore and the question is, will audiences be able to forget the actor and see a young Solo? Plus, with both the Kingsman sequel and Robin Hood: Origins coming out next year, he might not even have time. Image: 20th Century Fox
Starred in: Stoker, Beautiful Creatures, Blue Jasmine, Hail, Caesar! Need to know: Alden Ehrenreich isn't a newbie when it comes to making Hollywood movies, but you might not have noticed him until the Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar! His role as the charming but somewhat dim-witted actor, Hobie Doyle, was a huge success and left audiences wanted to see more of him. Han Solo-factor: Ehrenreich is a good shout for Han. He's got the looks and acting chops of Taron Egerton, but is still fairly unknown in the world of big cinema. Enough that fans wouldn't have trouble picturing him as the iconic bounty hunter. He's got to get rid of that southern accent though. Image: Working Title Films
Starred in: The Place Beyond the Pines, Brooklyn, Stealing Cars Need to know: A Cate Blanchett favourite (she called his performance in Brooklyn “extraordinary”) Cohen's career so far isn't what you'd call prolific. Even so, he has six films due for release in 2016, including Shot Caller, in which Nikolaj 'Jaime Lannister' Coster-Waldau plays a gangster just out of prison. Han Solo-factor: Who are we to debate the great Cate? Cohen appears to have timed his ascent perfectly – he's not so famous as to let his ego overwhelm the film, yet recent promise would instantly make his a performance one to look forward to. A real contender. Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Starred in: Glee, if you're one of the seven people who watched from season four onwards. Need to know: He had a small role opposite the original Sabrina The Teenage Witch in Melissa & Joey, before latching on with Glee for its final three seasons (as in, after anyone stopped caring... not that we ever did). He's also appeared in two episodes of Supergirl, but big screen-wise, he's a novice. Han Solo-factor: He's got less experience than most names on this list, but was fine in Glee (we've been told) and, crucially, does carry the natural look of a young Solo. Plus, unlike Elgort, he hasn't given himself a pun-based alter ego such as Jengo Fett. Image: 20th Century Fox
Starred in: Transformers: Edge of Extinction, Macbeth, What Richard Did Need to know: Another Sundance winner (for his part in Glassland), the Colorado-born actor earned glittering reviews and an IFTA accolade for his memorably disturbing lead role in What Richard Did. Next up is the role of Brother Wolf in Disney's live-action remake of The Jungle Book.
Starred in: Skins, '71, 300: Rise of an Empire, Unbroken Need to know: UK audiences will more than likely recognise Jack O’Connell from his turn in TV show Skins, but the actor's now made the move to the big screen with lead roles in the critically acclaimed '71 and Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. With three more movies to come out this year, O’Connell's one busy boy. Han Solo-factor: Well, he's certainly the right age (but so are a lot of actors on this list), and although he's worked a lot most of his role have been in under the radar movies meaning there's probably loads of Star Wars fans who don't have idea who he is. Could this be our Han Solo? Image: Legendary Pictures
Starred in: Gran Torino, The Longest Ride, Trouble with the Curve Need to know: Clint's youngest son originally adopted his mum's surname to avoid claims of nepotism, but switched back after early struggles to score parts. He's rolling now though, and not just in terms of getting movie gigs; Eastwood also appeared in the Joseph Kahn-directed, '50s-themed video for Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams". Han Solo-factor: At 29 he's older than most on the shortlist, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; Ford (and therefore Solo) looked wise beyond his years in A New Hope. Plus it'd be fascinating to see the legendary Eastwood name attached to a Star Wars flick, even if it's only a spin-off. Image: 20th Century Fox
Starred in: The Fault in our Stars, Divergent, Carrie Need to know: He snuck into the 2013 remake of Carrie before skyrocketing to teen idol status as The Fault in our Stars' Augustus. Fascinatingly, he's now looking to expand beyond the young adult audience via the lead role in a biopic about trendsetting 20th Century pianist Harvey Van Cliburn. Han Solo-factor: Being cast in a more serious role suggests impressive range for such a young actor, yet Elgort's Star Wars hopes unravel when you hear his DJ name. Because it's… Ansolo. See what he's done there? Way too try hard. No Star Wars spin-off for you, sir. Image: 20th Century Fox
Starred in: Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Now You See Me Need to know: James Franco's baby bro has amassed quite the CV in his 30 years, with regular roles in TV shows Scrubs, Privileged, Greek, and Do Not Disturb in addition to the above films. Extra cool points are awarded for his speaking part in The Lego Movie, as Bricksburg construction worker Wally. Han Solo-factor: The big issue here is height. Harrison Ford stands at a hair follicle or three over 6ft. Franco is 5ft 7. No doubt camera trickery could get around that, but as sticklers for canonical accuracy, the discrepancy isn't likely to go down well with Star Wars purists. Image: Columbia Pictures
Starred in: Percy Jackson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah Need to know: Known predominantly for being the Percy Jackson, Lerman has impressively managed to avoid being typecast as a teen with a temper – although he might look back with regret at his decision to play d'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers. He's the second star of Fury to appear on this list, after Scott Eastwood. Han Solo-factor: Cast so often as the sensitive, pretty boy type, Fury revealed Lerman's grizzlier side, suggesting he might be able to capture Han's supremely stubborn leanings. Image: Columbia Pictures
Starred in: Whiplash, Rabbit Hole, Footloose, Fantastic Four Need to know: Hand-picked by Nicole Kidman for his part in Rabbit Hole, the first hint of a dazzling future came when he played prom night boozehound Sutter in The Spectacular Now (for which he collected a Sundance award). And did we mention Whiplash is incredible? Fantastic Four though... Han Solo-factor: Teens love him – he was once shortlisted for an MTV gong for best kiss – and he certainly demonstrates the same boundary-straddling mix of cool-vs-cocky which made everyone love Ford as Solo. “You're sitting across from Miles Teller at the Luminary restaurant in Atlanta and trying to figure out if he's a dick,” wrote Esquire on meeting him in person. Sounds like Han Solo to us. Image: Sony Pictures
Who should play young Han Solo?
Made your decision? Let us know which of these young stars you think should play Han Solo, or, if you have a better idea, leave your suggestion in the comments below. And no, you can't choose Harrison Ford!