Certain franchises in Hollywood manage to carve out a very distinguished niche for themselves in the industry such as the Rocky films. Not only do these movies become iconic, but the actors who star in the classic roles immortalize themselves as timeless and authentic, such as Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. Star Wars is such a franchise, and it is difficult to imagine any actor playing the now classic roles of Luke, Leia, and Han instead of Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.
However, as is the case with every type of artistic medium, any story that is being told through them goes through multiple drafts before setting on a satisfactory final form. Similarly, Star Wars too, went through multiple drafts, including alternate actors or iconic roles, before it set on the aesthetic, designs, and story that so many around the world have come to love today. One such choice was the fact that Sylvester Stallone was in the running for Han Solo.
George Lucas couldn’t bring himself to turn down Sylvester Stallone
“I went in, and I knew it was wrong. George Lucas is sitting there. And you know when you walk in instantly that this is not gonna go well, whe the director does this…”
The actor then proceeded to act out the exact reaction Lucas had, which involved a lot of eye rubs and face palms, signaling the director’s frustration and annoyance. George Lucas was very shy, so much so that the Creed actor sat with him for several minutes, in silence. According to the Rocky Star:
“I will never forget, that there was a fly, walking across his desk, and that was the most action in the room.”
Eventually, Stallone had to take matters into his own hands, making it “simple” for the director. He said to the Star Wars director:
“I will make it simple, I look terrible in leotards, I get it.”
This was met with some gratitude from the director who simply said “Thank you”, cueing the actor to leave.
Jonathan Ross put a Sylvester Stallone-favoring spin on the entire ordeal
While hearing about the situation from Stallone, Ross decided that the story could be ripe for some comedic commentary. As soon as Stallone began narrating the arrival of Harrison Ford, Ross interjected, saying:
“So the way we will be serving this up in the future is: “Sly kindly stepped aside to give Harrison a chance in the industry”
It would have been quite a different world if Stallone had played Han Solo in Star Wars and its sequels. The actor is already pretty famous for his work with Rambo and Rocky, a third franchise would pitch the superstar to Hollywood greatness greater than what he had at the time. Further, given his rivalry with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is to say we might not have seen the Terminator star take up a similar role in a rival franchise? Schwarzenegger as Worf, anyone?