Two days ago, we took a look at the eight young men up for the role of Han Solo and came to the realization that while some of them could be okay in the role, it’s going to be weird watching someone try to fill Harrison Ford’s shoes. But you know what’s not weird? Hiring a woman to take the part of Han Solo, someone who can truly make the role her own. Look, we’ve seen Hollywood try to turn uncharismatic white male after male into the next big thing with mostly fruitless results. And when you stop to think about it, most of the young actors exhibiting the kind of star quality, risk taking, and dangerously charming appeal are women. With these Star Wars anthology films, Disney and Lucasfilm have a chance to break the mold, to take a page from the grand tradition of theatre in which this universe has its roots, and cast without worrying about gender, or even addressing the change. Rey changed things Star Wars-wise, maybe even female hero-wise, and proved that we will not only embrace female-led blockbuster films, but desire them. A movie about a charismatic young woman who’s a space pirate, gambler, and the best pilot in the entire galaxy? That sounds like an event worth seeing. So AE is here to offer up and grade our class of women, ready to take their Solo career out of men’s hands. Then you tell us which is the best candidate in the poll below.
The Goods: While she’s already a major star, the 32-year-old actress is ready made to have a long and successful career as an action hero. She’s already impressed the sci-fi crowd with her badass roles in Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.) and Looper, proved she can handle more grounded action with Sicario, and displayed her knack for comedic time many times over. She’s also currently unattached to a major franchise, and while many fans are hoping she lands at Marvel, we can’t imagine too many would be disappointed if she opted for a galaxy far, far, away. While she’ll certainly bring an edge to the role, it’s easy to imagine her sitting in some cantina, feet propped up on the table, and casually awaiting whatever trouble might come her way.
The Grade: A-
The Goods: The 25-year-old actress impressed opposite Greta Gerwig in last year’s Mistress America and is currently starring in Mozart in the Jungle. She’s displayed the kind of sardonic wit and watchful emotional engagement that would work very well for the young Han Solo who’s just learning how to maneuver the pitfalls of the galaxy. There’s an opportunity to explore the emotional vulnerability of the character we’ve rarely been given an opportunity to see. There’s little doubt that Kirke is going to be a major Hollywood player in a few years, so Lucasfilm and Disney should jump ahead of the crowd and put her in the Millennium Falcon.
The Grade: A-
The Goods: The 21-year-old actress is still a bit of an unknown, though she did play a supporting role in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Where she really impressed was in the second season of Bates Motel, where she portrayed the troubled Cody Brennan. She’s also a skilled improv actor and competed in the Canadian Improv Games, a skill that would surely come in handy as Han Solo. With the proven capabilities to be a bad influence (as we know a young Han Solo had to have been), a dangerous-looking smirk, and the ability to think on her feet, Kwiatkowski’s age shouldn’t matter much in creating a convincing portrayal of the famous space pirate.
The Grade: A
The Goods: The 31-year-old actress has popped up in quite a few blockbusters over the years, most recently in The Hunger Games series. In these films, she exhibited a compelling scrappiness that elevated the scripts she was working with. George Lucas envisioned a young Han Solo as being an almost feral wild-child who’d spend a good deal of his upbringing amongst the wookies. With Malone’s history of playing tough women who fight tooth and nail to survive, it’s not hard to imagine her fitting into this or a close interpretation of Han Solo’s backstory.
The Grade: B+
The Goods: After years spent taking the awards circuits by storm, Ellen Page is ready to lead a franchise of her own. She’s an actor’s actor with spades of charisma and the kind of no nonsense attitude exemplified by Harrison Ford. Better yet, Page already has experience playing the character in Jason Reitman’s live reading of Star Wars back in 2014. Her short stature could also provide a means of catching enemies off guard as Page has a history of playing characters who are more than they initially seem. Just imagine her standing next to Chewbacca and gunning down a horde of space gangsters. This is a match made in the stars.
The Grade: A
The Goods: If there was ever an actress set to defy gender norms of traditionally male heroes, it’s the 29-year-old actress, model, and musician. Ruby Rose has got a look of mischief and romantic charm that could start bar fights and end them. Who better to watch as a heart conquering young Han Solo, than someone open to sexual fluidity? While she’s still relatively new on the acting scene, she’ll soon be showing off her action skills in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and John Wick 2. Many have long labeled Han Solo as a character who broke labels, so why not continue that trend with an eye towards the ever-evolving 21st century?
The Grade: A-
The Goods: After star-making roles in Dear White People and Creed, Tessa Thompson has displayed an inherent talent for portraying characters who are not to be messed with and who completely own their identity. Thompson embodies the kind of passionate toughness and drive of the rogue scoundrel, and while the characters she’s portrayed are usually a little more put together than Han Solo, it would be fun to see what she could do with a looser individual who still falls in her wheelhouse. We haven’t begun to see what this actress has up her sleeve, and the opportunity for her to play Han Solo could really display her versatility.
The Grade: B+
The Goods: Child star and voice actor turned dramedy darling, the 27-year-old Whitman has proven her ability to transform into roles time and time again. In all likelihood the most versatile actress on this list, Whitman would have no problem pulling off Han Solo’s cocky charm and confidence. She may carry some of the baggage of recognition, but that’s never stopped her from making a role her own and challenging expectations previously. Also, if you’ve seen her in Scott Pilgrim vs The World, then you know she’s capable of delivering a beat down.
The Grade: A-
Featured Image: 20th Century Fox
Edited for content 1/14/16