‘Star Wars’ Book Reveals Harrison Ford Almost Wasn’t Han Solo, How Characters Got Names

Star Wars without Harrison Ford’s snarky Han Solo? It almost happened, according to the new book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, which also claims that an Oscar winner almost took the iconic role.

Those who have followed the franchise closely know that Ford was George Lucas’ first choice, but apparently he began to have doubts and thought the public wouldn’t like him as the smuggler who gives a ride to Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) so they can get an urgent message to the captive Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). Of course, for Harrison Ford, Star Wars was the role that propelled him into stardom.

Han Solo is one of the central figures in the original trilogy and Ford gave the Star Wars character the personality that fans love so much. But believe it or not, Lucas considered Christopher Walken as the legendary Millennium Falcon commander, according to new revelations by author Chris Taylor.

Star Wars book Harrison Ford.

Harrison Ford and George Lucas were not strangers when Star Wars was cast. As a matter of fact, they had made a very successful film together, American Graffiti, in 1973. Taylor claims that Lucas worried audiences would be distracted by an actor that was in one of his previous films, in the role of the interstellar scoundrel.

At the time Ford was unemployed and working as a carpenter. Lucas used him to read lines during Star Wars auditions. The veteran actor was also hired by the studio to fix a broken door and that’s when Lucas decided to cast him as Solo.

In his new book, Taylor also reveals some previously unknown secrets regarding other legendary Star Wars characters. Have you ever wonder how George Lucas came up with names such as R2D2 and Wookiees?

R2D2 and Luke Skylwalker.

According to the book, Lucas came up with the names from notes he had taken years ago, while working on his first film, THX 1138. The story goes like this. Lucas was working with voice actor DJ Terry McGovern, who brought his friend and fellow Army reservist Bill Wookey to the studio. McGovern cried out, “I think I just ran over a Wookey back there.” Lucas took note and wrote the line down, but later adjusted the spelling.

As far as R2D2, the unique name came the film rolls used during the sound edit on American Graffiti, which were labelled either R (Radio) or D (Dialogue). One of the movie’s sound editor exclaimed, “I need R2D2”, Lucas once again took note.

What do you think about the revelations of the new Star Wars book?

[Image via Lucasfilm]