Al Pacino Once Turned Down A $20 Million Star Wars Role

Star Wars: A New Hope

If you thought that almost every actor under the sun being linked to a high-profile role in a studio blockbuster is a relatively new phenomenon, then you’d be dead wrong. In the mid-1970s when both Star Wars and Superman were gearing up for production, there was hardly a name in Hollywood that didn’t find themselves under consideration for a role in either.

Casting the Man of Steel proved to be a torturous process for Richard Donner before he found Christopher Reeve, but the part in Star Wars that gave George Lucas the most trouble was finding the right Han Solo. As soon as the movie hit theaters it was impossible to imagine anyone other than Harrison Ford as the roguish smuggler, but he almost stumbled into the part by accident after initially being brought in to read lines alongside auditioning talents as a favor to his American Graffiti director.

One of the top contenders to play Han at the time was Al Pacino, which sounds ridiculous when you hear it now, but having just come off the success of The Godfather, its sequel and Dog Day Afternoon, he was one of the fastest-rising young stars in the business and an effects-heavy blockbuster could have cemented his status at the top of the A-list.

Of course, Pacino turned it down because he couldn’t wrap his head around the script, despite being offered a cut of the profits that would have seen him earn $20 million after Star Wars went on to become the highest-grossing movie ever made at that point. Future legends Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Bill Murray and Christopher Walken all auditioned for Han Solo, too, and while nobody could have done it better than Harrison Ford, the idea of Al Pacino showing up as a Force Ghost in The Rise of Skywalker and giving Kylo Ren the ol’ ‘hoo-ha!’ definitely would have been a sight to behold.

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Scott Campbell

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