You Cast ‘Star Wars: Heir to the Empire’ Round Eight: Han Solo


Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Heir to the Empire was a blockbuster and boundary breaker: It broke out of the fan underground and onto the New York Times Bestseller list, broke down the boundaries between film and written word, proving succinctly that a story is never truly over as long as someone wants to hear more, and broke through the known limits of the Star Wars universe, exploring places that the original trilogy never did. Would we have had an Expanded Universe without Heir to the Empire? Probably not.

Heir to the Empire picks up five years after Return of the Jedi. The galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war after the defeat of Darth Vader and the Emperor. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins and Luke Skywalker is now the first in a long awaited new line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away the last of the Emperor’s warlords-the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn-has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet. He’s ready it for war and aimed it right at the heart of the fragile new republic.

Fans would love to see an Heir to the Empire movie, and we would too! To celebrate the 20th anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire, we’re going to indulge in a little game of what-if, and we’d like for you to play along. We thought it would be fun to try to cast each of the book’s major roles, and after a little email brainstorming, we came up with a list of likely candidates to portray the key characters. We’d like our readers to help narrow them down and cast the movie.

We’ll list a character each weekday and the five actors we think are right for the part. You simply vote for the actor you want to see win the role. Don’t like our choices? Cast a write-in vote using the embedded poll software!

Note, we had said we’ll be posting the winners on September 20th, but that’s now changing to September 22nd to give the last characters time to be voted on. All polls will close at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 21.

Oh, and we should mention that since it’s been decades since Return of the Jedi was filmed we’ll need to recast all of the characters, so we’ll be asking you to cast new actors in some of the saga’s most iconic roles. Controversial? Maybe. Fun to discuss? You bet!

Today’s character is Han Solo.


Han Solo: This legendary smuggler rose to inter-galactic fame after agreeing to transport what appeared to be a harmless old man and a farmboy on a routine flight to Alderaan. Solo later played a crucial role in the Battle of Endor, effectively ending the Empire’s stranglehold on the galaxy.

Here are five actors we think might make a good Han Solo. Click the links to view their IMDB profiles, and then vote for your choice:

Nathan Fillion
Bradley Cooper
Jon Hamm
Gerard Butler
Jeremy Renner


Click here to vote for round nine: Leia Organa Solo!

  • echo 138

    Wow, I thought I’d see Chris Pine on the list.

  • The Mighty

    What? No John Krasinski?!

    /just kidding

  • The Mighty

    And I second @echo 138’s comment above. Chris Pine would be an excellent choice here. But could he really star as both Captain Kirk and Han Solo?

  • Space Girl

    Nathan Fillion isn’t a bad choice. Chris Pine would be ok, I feel like he looks too young though… Robert Downey, Jr. has the Han Solo acting ability I think, but he doesn’t look the part.

  • Dan

    Slightly older than Luke… Maybe Johnny Depp.

  • Chris Pine would be Luke.. All through watching Star Trek (2009) all I could think was “That’s Jedi Master Skywalker in the Star Trek universe” lol

  • David

    I went with the Coop, just as a standalone, but really… The top three really should be considered TOGETHER… You can’t cast Han without knowing who plays Leia, and you can’t cast Leia without having your Luke…

  • DavemJones

    You guys should check out Matthew Davis from Vampire Diaries. He looks like a younger Harrison Ford sometimes. I think he would be perfect.

  • Ben Browder. ’nuff said.

  • Nicholas Cage, because he obviously hasn’t been in enough movies yet.

  • Ryan

    No idea for this one, but Chris Pine would be like another Harrison Ford. Ford played two main stream characters at one time (Jones and Solo). But defintely no Nic Cage. He would be awful.

  • Kel

    You have to remember, this movie takes place AFTER ROTJ. So Han would be a little older. Pine, Cooper, Renner all look to young. My vote is for Gerard Butler. I think he would do an excellent “Han Solo smirk”.

  • DuroDude

    Sorry, but there is NO WAY I can envision anyone in this role but Harrison Ford. I would rather them just have Ford back in that role. Too old? Who cares! Han Solo minus Harrison Ford = NOT Han Solo.

    If I HAD to pick someone else (which I would not particularly enjoy doing), then that Nathan Fillion guy LOOKS like Han somewhat, but that doesn’t mean he could deliver the whole package. Nicolas Cage is a great actor and kind of has that Harrison Ford-esque quality to him, but he reminds me more of Indiana Jones than Han Solo.

    I’m not a huge fan of picking new actors to play these iconic roles. I think it’s interesting to discuss which actors should play EU characters, but the BIG THREE are sacred. No one else will do. Period.

  • Ziro

    Ian Holm

  • Linus

    Josh Holloway. Played Sawyer on Lost, whose mannerisms were largely based on Ford’s depiction of Solo. Has the aura of the character down pat, and I think he’d be great.

  • Alexandra Nemocon

    I have another candidate, who I think is absolutely perfect, from looks, to walking stance, style, attitude, and voice. Ed Quinn, who portrayed Stan Baker, a vampire cowboy in Texas, on the show: True Blood: Season 2. Here’s an IMDb profile link and some You Tube videos from True Blood: [this video shows him @1:55] [here you can see him @2:50] [whole video :]

  • Anna

    I went with Nathan Fillion, but Chris Pine would be an excellent choice too.

  • Anon

    Another Star Wars movie should not be made. And Cooper is an awful choice. Harrison Ford was too perfect and it’s too late to make another movie.

  • Scott

    I dont think that this would be the best choice for another Star Wars movie with characters that we already place with a certain actor. I feel that if a new Star Wars movie is made it should be with Characters we havent seen on the big screen yet. My vote would go for the Darth Bane Trilogy. I think Drew Karpyshyn did an amazing job with telling the story of Darth Bane. And I would love to see a movie from the veiws of the Sith. And set in the Old Republic. And I think Darth Bane would be the best place to go as he destroyed the Sith Order and brought it back to the old ways. One Master and One Apprentice. No more No Less.

  • George

    Since HttE takes place a while after RotJ, I don’t think the younger guys are appropriate. For me, Fillion is the only choice.

    Cooper and Hamm are both too slick (more appropriate for Lando than Han!). Cooper, especially, is too “pretty boy.” I guess Biutler’s okay, but I’ve never been very impressed by him or Renner.

  • kmoney

    I don’t think i can vote on this one. There can never be a replacement for Harrison Ford as Han.

  • Damon

    This one has to be done the same way Harrison got the part, brought in to read the lines as a favor and beat out all the other contenders………so this would have to be a no name who can pull off the Han Solo persona and no one would compare his skill to previous acting that he’s done.

  • Sihaya

    I picked Butler. He’s the right age, and somehow he manages to lend weight to wisecracks. There are alot of ‘wisecracking buddy’ parts out there, but Harrison Ford’s acting was what separated Solo from the others.

  • Ann

    Josh Holloway would be an excellent choice. How about Ben Browder?

  • Remmy D

    Really? There is NO one BUT Harrison Ford that can play Han Solo PERIOD!

  • hanimal

    Nathan Fillion already played this part on Serenity and Firefly, and he did a magnificent job.

  • Corellianrogue

    I agree with Remmy D. Just cast Harrison Ford and use CGI to make him look younger, lol! If I had to choose another actor though I’d say Joe Flanigan:

    Or Kyle Chandler:

  • emeraldcite

    Dennis Quaid. He looks enough like Ford, but is younger by quite a bit. With some good makeup, he could pull off an older Solo.