Why Taron Egerton Walked Away From The Lead Role In Solo: A Star Wars Story

Back in 2016, Lucasfilm's Han Solo spin-off was one of the most highly-anticipated films on the horizon and the role of young Han was the most coveted in Hollywood (this was before everything got ... dramatic). There wasn't a white male actor under the age of 30 who wasn't throwing their hat in the ring for the part, and the rumor mill was steadily chugging until Alden Ehrenreich was finally cast in the summer of 2016. Some of the prospective casting for young Han turned out to be speculation later on, but at least one rumored Han hopeful actually had a pretty good chance of taking the role: Taron Egerton.

Egerton was one of three actors on the rumored short list for "Solo: A Star Wars Story," alongside Ehrenreich himself and Jack Reynor ("Midsommar"). Of course, there were literally dozens more in the running — Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Dave Franco were among the biggest names — but only a handful of actors have broken their silence since then. Egerton is now among them.

'I just didn't feel it'

In an interview with Josh Horowitz for the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Egerton opened up about the process of auditioning for "Solo." The actor had a pretty good chance of securing the role, going as far as to screen test aboard the Millennium Falcon — but he ultimately made the choice to take himself out of the running:

"I'll be honest: I got on the Falcon. I was with Chewie. I was in the full costume ... And there was one more ... there was another round [of auditions] that I decided not to do. And it's far enough in the past now that I feel like I can say that. I hope no one feels annoyed that I have said it."

When asked if that experience had been enough to satisfy Egerton, the actor agreed. "That's what I felt like," Egerton continued. "I felt like I got there, I did it, I lived it..." But compared to his roles in other projects, Egerton didn't feel like "Solo" was right for him: 

"You know when we mentioned earlier that thing when I read the 'Kingsman' script and I was like, 'This is... I've gotta do this. This is my part.' I just didn't feel it."

Egerton knew that whoever played young Han would need that feeling, especially in light of the baggage that comes from stepping into such massive shoes. "'Cause you're following Harrison Ford... No one ever wants to follow Harrison Ford, you know?" Indeed.

A new hope

For all of Egerton's reservations about stepping into Ford's shoes, he's no stranger to auditioning for legacy characters. He spoke briefly with Horowitz about walking away from the role of Cyclops in the "X-Men" prequel films, a role that eventually went to Tyler Sheridan. His name has also featured prominently on the list of actors who could possibly succeed Hugh Jackman as another iconic X-Men character, Wolverine.

"Hopefully if it does come around, they'll give me a shot," Egerton told the New York Times. But even so, it's great to hear an actor address the projects that didn't come to fruition. It takes a lot of guts to walk away from a role as coveted as Han Solo, and who knows? Egerton may wind up finding his perfect IP-based role very soon (so all those fan-casters out there can breathe a sigh of relief).