11 Actors Who Have Played The Doctor

There have been many actors who have portrayed the Doctor in various settings, but eleven have been the official Doctors. We'll look at all of them here.

1. William Hartnell

Veteran character actor William Hartnell was born in 1908 to humble beginnings; his mother was unwed, he never knew his father, and his first career move was into petty crime. A boxing instructor got him started on horse racing, but he found his real passion when he got a job as a stagehand at the age of 18. He quickly got into acting, working constantly with only a break to serve in World War II in an armored regiment. He ended up typecast in comic tough-guy roles (you can see one of them in The Mouse That Roared), and when Verity Lambert offered him the part of a mysterious time traveler in an educational show aimed at children, he jumped at the part. He created a character who was highly intelligent but not always as wise as he thought himself, brilliant but forgetful, cantankerous but with a deep compassion under the surface. He enjoyed the role tremendously, but by 1966, his health was deteriorating due to arteriosclerosis and he had to quit. The producers came up with the idea of having his character transform into a new actor, and Hartnell suggested Patrick Troughton, who was approached and accepted the part. Hartnell reprised his role once more for the tenth anniversary special, "The Three Doctors," but his health had deteriorated more than the production crew realized and his part had to be rewritten to accommodate his capabilities; it was his final work as an actor, and he passed away in 1974 at the age of 67.

2. Patrick Troughton

Born in 1920, Patrick Troughton went directly into an acting career and was undergoing formal training in New York City when World War II broke out. He returned to England and joined the Navy, where he had a decorated career before returning to the theater, gaining a reputation as a reliable and versatile character actor. In 1953, he became the first person to play Robin Hood on television and found a succession of television, film, and radio roles afterward before Innes Lloyd, the new producer of Doctor Who, approached him in 1966 about succeeding William Hartnell in the title role. He ended up playing the role as what series creator Sydney Newman called a "cosmic hobo," inspired partly by silent film star Charlie Chaplin — brilliant, a bit egotistical, and also a bit of a comedian. He'd sometimes play the recorder, a significant change from the First Doctor, who had no apparent musical talent, and it was during this era that the sonic screwdriver was first seen. After three years, he decided to move on, although he returned three more times to reprise the role, in "The Three Doctors," "The Five Doctors," and "The Two Doctors." He returned to his work as a character actor after his time on Doctor Who, working hard despite doctors' advice due to major heart problems. In 1987, he defied doctor's orders to stay in the country and recuperate and went on one more convention tour. He died on March 27, 1987, in Columbus, Georgia. (I actually saw him once, and got his autograph, earlier in the same U.S. tour. He seemed in good health, but, well, he was a very good actor.) Acting was in his blood; several of his children and grandchildren have gone into acting. The youngest of these is Harry Melling, whom Harry Potter fans know as Dudley Dursley.

3. Jon Pertwee

Born in 1919, and thus actually a year older than the man he would replace, Jon Pertwee was born into a family that already had a lot of actors in it. Like the first two Doctors, he joined the military in World War II; although his service wasn't as distinguished as Troughton's, he did acquire an interesting souvenir: he woke up one morning after a drunken shore leave to find a tattoo on his arm, which made a brief appearance in his debut episode of Doctor Who. After the war, he became known as a comic actor on stage, television, and film. When he heard that the part of the Doctor had become available, he inquired and discovered he was already on the shortlist, and ultimately was cast. He played the character as an action hero with an almost James Bond flair, wearing opera capes and driving souped up cars (including the spaceship-like Whomobile, which actually belonged to Pertwee himself, built on commission by a custom car builder). After five seasons, he departed the role. His career didn't falter afterwards, and in 1979 he found his second children's TV role in Worzel Gummidge. He returned to the part of the Doctor for "The Five Doctors." Like Troughton before him, he kept up the convention circuit, meeting with his fans frequently, and he died of a heart attack in Connecticut on May 20, 1996.

(One odd coincidence—Pertwee's godfather was the actor Henry Ainley, whose son Anthony later took on the part of the Master, originated by Roger Delgado during Pertwee's tenure.)

4. Tom Baker

Born in 1934 to a Catholic working class family in Liverpool, Baker first tried a career as a monk, then joined the military, serving as an orderly in a military hospital, before settling on acting as his career. In the '60s, he was a part of the National Theatre company under Lawrence Olivier, and in 1971 broke into film as Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra. In 1974, producer Barry Letts cast him as the Doctor. His interpretation was as arrogant and egotistical as all his predecessors, and just as determined to do good, but more eccentric, often described as "bohemian." The Fourth Doctor is particularly famous for his ridiculously long scarf, which resulted from a miscommunication between costume designer James Acheson and the knitter hired to produce it; Acheson never specified a length, and bought far too much yarn, so the knitter just kept going until it was all used up. Baker performed the part for a record-breaking seven seasons before retiring from it. After leaving, he had a brief marriage to costar Lalla Ward (the Second Romana), but it fell apart when both realized they'd really fallen in love with the other one's character, not the actor—an occupational hazard, unfortunately—and they parted amicably. He continued working on stage and screen, and is still active.

5. Peter Davison

Born Peter Moffett in 1951 (he chose the stage name "Davison" because there was already a Peter Moffatt on the English stage), Davison began work at Nottingham Playhouse and got into television in 1975 alongside the woman who would become his wife, Sandra Dickinson. (Sci-fi fans will remember her as Trillian in the BBC TV miniseries version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; it was her idea to get Davison into a big rubber suit to play the Dish of the Day in the same series.) But his first really big break was the role of Tristan Farnon, a young country veterinarian, in All Creatures Great and Small. In 1981, he got his next big break when he was signed on to succeed Tom Baker as the Doctor. Only 29 at the time, he was the youngest to play the role until Matt Smith in 2010. His Doctor had his little quirks, but was much less eccentric than his predecessor, save for a stick of celery he wore on his lapel and a preference for cricket attire. He left after three seasons. He returned for non-canon productions and the very short charity special "Time Crash," opposite David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, the only "classic" Doctor to appear on the new series. After Doctor Who, he starred in A Very Peculiar Practice, Campion, and a revival of All Creatures Great and Small, as well as an assortment of other roles; he is still acting. His daughter from his first marriage, Georgia Moffett, later appeared on Doctor Who as well, the first child of a Doctor to appear on the show, in "The Doctor's Daughter" as, well, the Doctor's sort-of daughter. And that led, in a roundabout way, to Peter Davison becoming David Tennant's father-in-law, but more on that later...

6. Colin Baker

Born in 1943 (and of no relation to Tom Baker), Colin Baker initially studied law with the intention of becoming a solicitor, but at 23, found a different calling and became an actor. He had a smattering of television roles before appearing on Doctor Who in 1983 as Commander Maxil, commander of the chancellory guards on Gallifrey in "The Arc of Infinity." This got him onto producer John Nathan-Turner's radar, and he was cast as the Sixth Doctor after Peter Davison's departure. His tenure as the Doctor was a difficult one, marred by the battle of the production team with BBC leadership who hoped to see the series die. His costume was wildly garish, and he even attempted to kill his own companion in a fit of madness. But Baker put everything into the part and, although fans are mixed in their opinion of his Doctor, it cannot be denied that he threw himself into it, creating a Doctor who underwent a substantial amount of character development in two seasons. Unfortunately, the BBC1 Controller, Michael Grade, had never been a fan of the program and, after the troubled season 23, "Trial of a Time Lord," Colin Baker was fired despite having a full series left in his contract. He remains enthusiastic about the series despite that, however, and has lent his talents to numerous fan-made and non-canon productions. Following his time on Doctor Who, he moved primarily into theater, but still does occasional film and television work as well.

7. Sylvester McCoy

Born Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith in Dunoon, Scotland, in 1943, Sylvester McCoy would become the first non-English actor to play the part. (To date, there has been only one other: Scottish actor David Tennant.) He never knew his father, who died in World War II shortly before he was born, and he was raised in Dublin, Ireland. He tried a variety of careers before joining a comedy/vaudeville act called "The Ken Campbell Roadshow." One of the parts he played was a fictitious stuntman named Sylveste McCoy; confused reviewers thought it was his actual name, and he eventually adopted it as a stage name (adding an "r" to the first name to make it look better). In 1987, Doctor Who came out of a year-long hiatus following the firing of Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy was cast as the Seventh Doctor. His performance was evocative of the Second Doctor, and clearly informed by his comedy background, but in his second season became increasingly dark. The series was indefinitely suspended in 1989, ending the bulk of his tenure, although he returned for the American-produced Doctor Who movie in 1996, to film a regeneration scene to transition to Paul McGann. Following his work on Doctor Who, he worked extensively in theater and radio; he was nearly Governor Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean and even more nearly Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. He recently traveled to New Zealand to film the part of Radagast the Brown for The Hobbit.

8. Paul McGann

Born in Liverpool in 1959, Paul McGann would ultimately have the shortest tenure as Doctor. He was born to a large family, and all four of the McGann boys went into acting. He played a series of roles on television before landing one of the two title roles in Withnail and I, playing Peter Marwood, the "I" of the title who is never named in the movie itself. He performed in a number of films after that, including American films, and was cast as Richard Sharpe, but a football injury just after filming started meant the number two, Sean Bean, got the part instead, and McGann ultimately walked away with a two million pound insurance settlement to compensate for the lost work and career advancement. In 1996, he was cast in an attempted revival of Doctor Who, filmed largely in Vancouver, British Columbia, and set in San Francisco, which was intended as a "back door pilot." It received very good ratings in the UK, but failed to interest US studios. That was the end of that effort, but Paul McGann went on to pursue a respectable film and television career. Recently, he has recorded audio plays featuring the Eighth Doctor — the BBC does not consider these plays canon — including a "do-over" of "Shada," a story written and partially recorded for the Fourth Doctor's tenure, but that was left uncompleted due to industrial action.

9. Christopher Eccleston

Born in 1964 to a working class family in Manchester, Eccleston pursued an acting career right out of school. He broke into film and television in the early '90s, keeping very busy and receiving multiple awards for his work in television before producer Russell T. Davies cast him as the Ninth Doctor in a newly revived Doctor Who. He played the part in more ordinary dress than his predecessors and with his natural Northern accent. Eccleston was the first Doctor younger than the series itself (by a few months) and the first other than Hartnell to have never seen it prior to being cast. He studied "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (a Fourth Doctor serial), which was then newly released on DVD, as preparation, and came up with a Doctor who was every bit as egotistical as his predecessors, mischievous and impulsive, but also shadowed with massive grief—sometime in the untransmitted interim, his race had gone to war with the Daleks, and he was now the only Time Lord left. He was also in some way responsible for the fact that the Time Lords were now extinct. He was only contracted for one season, due to uncertainty whether the BBC would even be interested in commissioning a second season; miscommunications with the BBC marred his departure, as he was mistakenly reported to have quit due to issues with the crew when, in fact, it had been planned that way from the outset. He resumed his intense schedule after Doctor Who and, in 2011, earned the International Emmy Best Actor award for his role in Accursed.

10. David Tennant

David McDonald was born in 1971 in West Lothian, Scotland, later taking the name David Tennant as his given name was already in use by another performer. He was a born Whovian, and at the age of three announced his intention to go into acting because of it. A precocious actor, he managed to enter the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama at 16. He performed a variety of roles, including many with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and began breaking into television in the 2000s. In 2005, he appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Barty Crouch, Jr., and appeased his inner Whovian by appearing in the Big Finish audio productions that sort of worked around the edges of Doctor Who continuity and in the abortive attempt at an online animated series, The Scream of the Shalka. He achieved his lifelong dream in 2005 when he was cast as the Tenth Doctor. He elected not to use his natural Scots accent for the part, affecting an Estuary accent, and played it a more confident and more vengeful Doctor than Eccleston. During his first season, he became the first Doctor to appear with someone from the classic series, when Elizabeth Sladen reprised her role as Sarah Jane Smith in "School Reunion." That prompted a spinoff series called The Sarah Jane Adventures, and he appeared in an episode of Season Three of that show. He also provided voice work for two animated series, The Infinite Quest and Dreamland (the latter of which was referenced twice on The Sarah Jane Adventures). After three full seasons and a series of one-off specials in 2009, Tennant left the series, saying that he had to leave while he still could; any later and he wouldn't be able to bring himself to quit. After leaving the series, he became engaged to actress Georgia Moffett, Peter Davison's daughter. The two have since married and have a daughter together.

11. Matt Smith

Born in 1982 in Northhampton, Matt Smith initially dreamed of becoming a professional football player. ("Soccer" to us Yanks, of course.) A back injury put a stop to that, and his drama instructor at school pushed him into acting. He began to study drama and creative writing. He appeared in a variety of stage and television roles, but it was a complete surprise to most when he was cast as the Eleventh Doctor, the youngest ever to take the part. Producer Steven Moffatt had been going for someone in his mid-40s, but was particularly taken by Smith's oddball demeanor and ability to look very old indeed. His Doctor was played as an absent-minded professor, complete with tweed jacket and bowtie (which he obliviously insists is cool), with a sometimes mercurial disposition. He has also appeared on The Sarah Jane Adventures and has provided voice work for a series of video games. He has been signed for an additional 14 episodes, so will be the Doctor for at least three seasons. Like Eccleston, Smith was largely unfamiliar with the series before accepting the role, but he had an excuse—he was only seven when the series went on hiatus. (And now some of us can start feeling old!)

Jenny Anderson, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
10 Things You Might Not Know About Tina Fey
Jenny Anderson, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Jenny Anderson, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Tina Fey has transformed modern comedy more than just about anyone else. From the main stage of Second City to the writer’s room of SNL to extremely fetch comedy blockbusters, Elizabeth Stamatina Fey has built a national stage with a dry, eye-popping sarcasm and political satire where no one is safe. She has a slew of Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG, PGA, and WGA awards to prove it—plus a recent Tony nomination (her first). But, more importantly, she’s the closest thing we have to a national comic laureate.

Here are 10 facts about a fantastically blorft American icon.


Fey got a very early start in comedy, watching a lot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart, and Norman Lear shows as a kid. Her father and mother sneaked her in to see Young Frankenstein and would let her stay up late to watch The Honeymooners. So it’s no surprise that she chose comedy as the subject of a middle school project. The only book she could get her hands on was Joe Franklin’s Encyclopedia of Comedians, but at least she made a friend. "I remember me and one other girl in my 8th grade class got to do an independent study because we finished the regular material early, and she chose to do hers on communism, and I chose to do mine on comedy," Fey told The A.V. Club. "We kept bumping into each other at the card catalog."


Fey’s facial scar had been recognizable but unexplained for years until a profile in Vanity Fair revealed that the mark on her left cheek came from being slashed by a strange man when she was five years old. “She just thought somebody marked her with a pen,” her husband Jeff Richmond said. Fey wrote in Bossypants that it happened in an alleyway behind her Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, home when she was in kindergarten.


Saturday Night Live hired Fey as a writer in 1997. In 1995 she had the slightly more glamorous job of pitching Mutual Savings Bank with a radical floral applique vest and a handful of puns on the word “Hi.” In a bit of life imitating art, just as Liz Lemon’s 1-900-OKFACE commercial was unearthed and mocked on 30 Rock, the internet discovered Fey’s stint awkwardly cheering on high interest rates a few years ago and had a lot to say about her '90s hair.


Four years after that commercial and two after she joined Saturday Night Live’s writing staff, Fey earned a promotion to head writer. Up until that point, the head writers were named Michael, Herb, Bob, Jim, Steve. You get the picture. She acted as head writer for six seasons until moving on to write and executive produce 30 Rock. Since her departure, two more women (Paula Pell and Sara Schneider) have been head writers for the iconic show.


Established in 1998, the Kennedy Center’s hilarious honor has mostly been awarded to funny people in the twilight of their careers. Richard Pryor was the first recipient, and comedians who made their marks decades prior like Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, and George Carlin followed. Fey earned the award in 2010 when she was 40 years old, and the age of her successors (Carol Burnett, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, David Letterman ...) signals that she may hold the title of youngest recipient for some time.


Fey was an outstanding student who was involved in choir, drama, and tennis, and co-edited the school’s newspaper, The Acorn. She also wrote a satirical column addressing “school policy and teachers” under the pun-tastic pseudonym “The Colonel.” Fey also recalled getting in trouble because she tried to make a pun on the phrase “annals of history.” Cheeky.


Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino) first gained notice as a member of Derrick Comedy in college, and Fey hired him at the age of 23 to write for 30 Rock. Before jumping from that show to Community, Glover put out his first mixtape under his stage name. After releasing his debut album, Camp, in 2011, Gambino dropped a sixth mixtape called Royalty that featured Fey rapping on a song called “Real Estate.” “My president is black, and my Prius is blue!"


Between the bank commercial and Saturday Night Live, Fey has an intriguing credit on her resume: the arcade pinball machine “Medieval Madness.” Most of the game’s Arthurian dialogue was written by Second City members Scott Adsit (Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock) and Kevin Dorff, who pulled in fellow Second City castmate Fey to voice for an “Opera Singer” princess, Cockney-speaking princesses, and a character with a southern drawl. (You can hear some of the outtakes here.)


Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan in 'Mean Girls' (2004)
Paramount Home Entertainment

There’s a ton of interesting trivia about Mean Girls, Fey’s first foray into feature film screenwriting. She bid on the rights to Rosalind Wiseman’s book that inspired the movie without realizing it didn’t have a plot. She initially wrote a large part for herself but kept whittling it down to focus on the teenagers, and her first draft was “for sure R-rated.” Fey also chose to play a math teacher to fight prejudice. “It was an attempt on my part to counteract the stereotype that girls can’t do math. Even though I did not understand a word I was saying.” Fey used a friend’s calculus teacher boyfriend’s lesson plans in the script.


Fey’s father Donald was a Korean War veteran who also studied journalism at Temple University. When he died in 2015, Fey and her brother Peter founded a memorial scholarship in his name that seeks to aid veterans who want to study journalism at Temple.

"He was really inspiring," Fey said. "A lot of kids grow up with dreams of doing those things and their parents are fearful and want them to get a law degree and have things to fall back on, but he and our mom always encouraged us to pursue whatever truly interested us." Fey also supports Autism Speaks, Mercy Corps, Love Our Children USA, and other charities.

Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
15 Actors Who Could've Played Han Solo
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Before Harrison Ford (watch his audition tape here) and Alden Ehrenreich were cast as Han Solo in the Star Wars film franchise, a number of young and famous Hollywood actors had a shot at playing everyone’s favorite “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerfherder.” Here are 15 of them.


After the massive success of the first two The Godfather films, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino was the toast of Hollywood. He was given the script to Star Wars and was offered the Solo job, but turned it down to star in Sydney Pollack’s Bobby Deerfield instead.

“It was at that time in my career when I was offered everything,” Pacino told MTV in 2014. “I was in The Godfather. They didn’t care if I was right or wrong for the role, if I could act or not act. ‘He’s in The Godfather. Offer him everything!’ So they offered me this movie. And I remember not understanding it when I read it. Another missed opportunity!”


 Actor Miles Teller attends the 2018 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert at NOMADIC LIVE! at The Armory on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for DirecTV

Fresh off the success of Divergent and Whiplash in 2014, Miles Teller’s name appeared on the shortlist of young actors being considered to play the title role in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Believe it or not, he had never watched a single movie set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” before his audition with Lucasfilm.

“I had never even seen any of the original Star Wars movies until maybe a month or a couple weeks before my first audition because I was like, ‘I should check this out,'" Teller told MTV’s Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “I just love Harrison Ford, I think that’s a great character. I love his brand, I mean so many guys would’ve played that part so wrong and he has humor at the right times.”


Before he wrote and starred in Rocky, Sylvester Stallone met with George Lucas and auditioned for the part of Han Solo. He knew he wasn’t going to get the job based on the director’s ambivalent demeanor during his reading.

When asked about the audition in 2010, Stallone told Ain’t It Cool News in 2010, “It didn’t meet with much approval since when I stood in front of George Lucas he didn’t look at me once, obviously being very shy. Then I said ‘Well obviously I’m not the right type.’ but it all worked out for the best since I don’t look good in spandex holding a Ray gun.”


 Ansel Elgort attends New York City Ballet 2018 Spring Gala at Lincoln Center on May 3, 2018 in New York City
Steven Ferdman, Getty Images

The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort was one of the names on Lucasfilm’s shortlist of young actors for Solo. While he has the good looks to play the rugged space pirate, Elgort was relieved that Alden Ehrenreich was selected instead. 

“Yeah, I was pretty worried, honestly,” Elgort told The Huffington Post. “I was pretty worried that if I got it, I’d have to change my DJ name. So I’m relieved.” (Elgort is also a musician and singer with the DJ name of “Ansølo.” He publishes electronic dance music and remixes on Soundcloud under the pseudonym.)


Before his breakout appearances in Annie Hall and The Deer Hunter, a struggling young actor named Christopher Walken auditioned for Han Solo in Star Wars. Although the role went to Ford in the end, Walken was reportedly Lucas’s second choice for the space smuggler.


After starring in hit comedies like Neighbors, Dave Franco auditioned for Lucasfilm. During pre-production in 2016, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller—who both also directed Franco in 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie—were set to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story. The pair left the project well into filming due to “creative differences.” Despite a strong audition, Franco ultimately didn’t get the role.

“I’m not good with impressions or anything like that,” Franco told MTV. “I think that’s the reason why it’s so hard to cast this role. Do they want someone to perfectly embody who Harrison Ford is, or do they want to go a completely different route? Do they want someone to look really similar to him? I don’t know, I think they’re struggling with that.”


During the mid-1970s, Kurt Russell auditioned for both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, but Lucas wasn’t sure he was right for either job. While the director was still making up his mind, Russell dropped out of the running altogether to be a series regular on a TV Western called The Quest instead.

“[I was] interviewing for the part of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo," Russell told USA Today. "On tape, it exists. I didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. Something about a Death Star and a Millennium Falcon. I was actually pretty [close], in the final running, but I needed to give an answer to ABC to do a western show. I asked George, ‘Do you think you’re gonna use me?’ He said, ‘I don’t know if I want to put you with him, or those two guys together.’ I got to go to work, so I did the western. Clearly, made the right choice.”

When later asked about his decision to work on The Quest, which lasted just one season, Russell told Vanity Fair: “I don’t have any regrets. As an actor you can’t dwell on those things or you’ll go crazy. Things happen for a reason and I’m happy how things turned out in my career. My life and career may have been different, maybe for better or for worse, if I did Star Wars, but you can’t focus on it. You move on.”


 Scott Eastwood attends the 6th Annual Hilarity For Charity at The Hollywood Palladium on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

In 2016, Lucasfilm auditioned more than 2500 actors roughly between the ages of 20 and 25 for Solo. The production company wanted an actor who was young enough to grow with the character through multiple movies. The list was whittled down to just eight names after screen tests, with actor Scott Eastwood—son of Clint—among those in the running. Although he was a favorite with Star Wars fans, Eastwood was 29 years old at the time and the oldest actor on the shortlist.


Before he was known as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Robert Englund auditioned for Han Solo. While he didn’t land the gig, Englund took the script home with him, because he thought his roommate would be perfect for the role of Luke Skywalker—and he was right! Englund’s roommate at the time was Mark Hamill, who played the iconic role for more than 40 years, most recently in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

“At that time, Mark Hamill was always on my couch,” Englund told “So there he was, halfway through a six-pack, watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I went in and I said to him, ‘Look at these sides, I think you’re right for this, man. This character is like a space prince, and it’s George Lucas!' ... I was just saying, ‘Wow, what if you got to be in a George Lucas movie, Mark? You’re the kind of actor he loves!’ So he got on the phone to his agent and the rest is history.”


After gaining critical and commercial success in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury, Logan Lerman was reportedly on Lucasfilm’s shortlist of young actors to play Solo. While he didn’t end up landing the gig, Lerman said of the role to MTV, “I don’t think I’d be intimidated. It would just be fun.”


 Jack Reynor arriving at the 'Detroit' European Premiere at The Curzon Mayfair on August 16, 2017 in London, England
Tristan Fewings, Getty Images

While audiences might know him as the lead character in the Irish drama What Richard Did or as the love interest in Transformers: Age of Extinction, Irish actor Jack Reynor was on the shortlist for Solo, and was ultimately happy he didn’t get the gig.

“That Han Solo movie is going to be really tough,” Reynor told The Irish Times. “I think the guy who is doing it is a really good actor, but, for myself, I was afraid of it. I kept thinking: if you f**k this up you’ll ruin people’s childhoods. If it doesn’t turn out great, you won’t be forgiven. That’s a lot of responsibility. And even if it goes great, you’ll do it, people will know you only from that and that defines your career. That would be very difficult. For me, working on original material is very important.”


While still on Saturday Night Live, it was rumored that Bill Murray was up for Han Solo in A New Hope. In 2015, while at San Diego Comic-Con, Murray addressed the nearly 40-year old rumors: “I don’t know if I was up for it. I can’t tell you for sure. But I am working out in hopes of getting this new thing,” he joked. “I’m doing a lot of swimming and pilates."


 Taron Egerton attends the EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) nominees party at Kensington Palace on February 17, 2018 in London, England
Jeff Spicer, Getty Images

Welsh actor Taron Egerton, who starred in Kingsman: The Secret Service and its sequel, was reportedly one of the three names (alongside Reynor and Ehrenreich) on the final shortlist for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Like Reynor, Egerton admitted he was very apprehensive of the role.

“Roles of that level are always going to be life-changing,” Egerton told The Guardian in 2016. “I wouldn’t run into it blind. It would definitely be a shutting-a-door-behind-me moment. That is something that I’d be wary of.”


Coming off his breakout success in Cooley High in 1975, actor Glynn Turman auditioned for Lucas—but he didn’t even realize he had auditioned for the part of Han Solo until he read about it in Dale Pollock’s book, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, in 1983.

“In those days it said ‘black actor,’ ‘white actor,’ ‘Hispanic actor’ for every role, but it didn’t say either for the Han Solo part,” Glynn Turman told Empire Magazine in 2017. “It didn’t specify ‘black actor.’ I was rather pleased because I was just being called in as a talent. I remember George was very professional.” Turman must have impressed Lucas, as he was apparently considered for the role of Lando Calrissian as well.

“Later, I was approached for the role, in that same franchise, that [was given to] Billy Dee Williams,” Turman told Yahoo! Entertainment. “Handsome, swashbuckling, dashing Billy Dee. I hate him! Not true. Dear friend and a talented man. Lando Calrissian! That wouldn’t have fit me anyway. But it fits a Billy Dee Williams.”


 Actor Emory Cohen attends the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival after party for Vincent N Roxxy at Black Market on April 19, 2016 in New York City
Cindy Ord, Getty Images for 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

In 2016, New York City-born actor Emory Cohen, a.k.a. “the cute guy from Brooklyn in Brooklyn,” was among the contenders to play Han Solo. "I read for it once," he later told The Daily Beast, and joked that, “They don’t even want me!”


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