There’s always something to learn about your favorite classics since honesty if you think you know everything there’s a good chance that there’s something you’ve missed or some bit of information that’s come to light. As for this tidbit given by David James of We Got This Covered it’d be impressive to think that even a number of hardcore Star Wars fans would even realize that Mark Hamill’s casting in Star Wars was due to the eventual horror icon Robert Englund, who of course many will always remember as the dream demon Freddy Krueger. The story goes that Englund was actually auditioning for a role in Apocalypse Now, and happened to notice that Star Wars was auditioning in the same place at the same time. So, perhaps thinking that he might as well see if he fit any of the roles, Englund popped in to see if he could audition for anything that might suit him. At this time presumably the character of Han Solo wasn’t even being considered to be a human being, but even with that in mind Englund was in the office for all of five minutes before they got his information and sent him on his way. Obviously the man that would become one of the most terrifying movie monsters of all time didn’t get any part in the movie, but thankfully that’s not where the story ends as Englund tells it himself quite well:
“I wasn’t right for anything,” said the actor. “They didn’t think I fit, but they took my photo. They took a Polaroid of me and they talked to me for five minutes. I later on discovered that Tom Selleck or somebody like Tom Selleck had turned them down for Han Solo. I’ve read all sorts of names including his in connection with Han Solo. My understanding is that in the very early drafts, he wasn’t even human. Solo was some sort of alien… I presumed, I say presumed, that they took my Polaroid for Han Solo. I didn’t read. I didn’t read any script. They just took my picture and talked to me for a few minutes. I came home. Mark’s laying on the couch, watching TV, and I told him because Mark loved American Graffiti and George Lucas, too. I just told Mark about this new George Lucas movie – that’s all. Mark got on the phone and called his agent. That’s the story. I was not up for Han Solo, and I wasn’t up for Luke Skywalker. I was in the office for five minutes over there, but I did come home and tell Mark about it, he called his agent, and the rest is history.”
It does feel as though Englund might have made a great character in the Star Wars prequels or even the latest trilogy, but obviously that ship sailed some time ago. But to think that Mark Hamill might have missed the bus so to speak on Star Wars if not for Robert Englund is pretty interesting given that Star Wars’ main protagonist could have been someone very different and perhaps not quite as memorable had Robert not bothered to even pop his head in and see what was going on. JK Schmidt of Comic Book has more to add to this discussion. Englund would have been a great alien, perhaps an evil Sith or someone of ill repute that could have interacted with the main cast in a significant way, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s easy to not feel sorry for him though since Robert did go on to become one of the most iconic characters in movie history, while Hamill’s career kind of dipped a bit once the Star Wars movies were over. It’s true that he’s been held up as the hero of the movie for a long time following the original trilogy and was highly anticipated for the most recent movies, but following the original trilogy it’s hard to deny that those who didn’t have a well-established career kind of went by the wayside and weren’t really heard from that often. Harrison Ford went on to create an impressive career, but Hamill has, for a long time, been lauded as a hero of the trilogy but still didn’t do much else apart from becoming the voice of the Joker for the animated Batman series among other behind the scenes roles and minor movie roles that took up a lot of his time.
Facts such as this are popping up all the time if a person knows where to look and can learn to appreciate them since this particular one could have had huge ramifications if Hamill hadn’t been told about the audition. Just think of what might have happened if someone else would have taken the part. Would Luke Skywalker still have been as popular? These are pretty heavy questions to consider when you really think about it.