Harrison Ford Wasn’t Allowed to Audition for ‘Star Wars’, Here’s How He Landed the Role

Harrison Ford became a superstar after his role as Han Solo in Star Wars. He is irreplaceable as the galactic smuggler, but director George Lucas initially didn’t allow him to audition. Here’s why.

Harrison Ford worked with George Lucas before ‘Star Wars’

Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Star Wars creator George Lucas at Mark Hamill's star ceremony at the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and George Lucas | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Before Ford landed the role of Han Solo, he had small parts in several movies and TV shows. He worked as a self-trained carpenter until Lucas cast him in a supporting role in American Graffiti (1973).

Ford played Bob Falfa, a driver who continuously challenges people to a drag race. While it’s not a role with a ton of lines, it still gave Ford’s career a boost. He later was cast in a small role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974). When Lucas began making Star Wars, he asked for Ford’s help, but he didn’t let him audition.

George Lucas did not allow Harrison Ford to audition for Han Solo

While Ford is perfect in the role of Han Solo, Lucas initially blocked him from auditioning. According to IMDb, Lucas did not want to use any familiar faces that he previously worked with for American Graffiti.

So, Ford was not allowed to audition, but Lucas did ask him to read lines with other actors who were auditioning for Star Wars. While reading lines, Lucas realized that Ford was a better actor than everyone else auditioning, so he allowed Ford to play the part of Han Solo. He joined a cast that included Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. 

Ford only earned $10,000 for his part in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, but it ended up being the smartest decision of his career. Ford returned to the role of Han Solo almost 40 years after the original trilogy in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. He also had a small cameo in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Fans were ecstatic to see him return and he continues to be a fan-favorite character. 

Ford and Lucas continued to work together on the ‘Indiana Jones’ movies

Ford became a star after his role in Star Wars. To capitalize on his fame, he was cast as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lucas produced the film, while Steven Spielberg directed. The Indiana Jones franchise is one of the most successful franchises ever and is still going strong.

Ford recently wrapped up production on Indiana Jones 5. Spielberg did not return to direct this fifth entry and it is now directed by James Mangold. It is set to be released by Disney on June 30, 2023.  

Star Wars is currently streaming on Disney+. 

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