A Nightmare on Elm Street star Robert Englund is setting the record straight on a persistent rumor which has followed him for a very long time. For many years, a Hollywood legend has been floating around concerning Englund's alleged near-casting in the original Star Wars, suggesting the horror star was considered by George Lucas to play Han Solo before the role was later given to Harrison Ford. Now, in a new interview with Fantha Tracks, Englund had this to say about this meeting with Lucas about his potential casting.
"You know everybody gets that wrong. I kind of hate to talk about this... Because, well, here's why: Everybody gets it wrong. This is the Internet. They get everything wrong. I don't know whether it's a generational thing or whether it's a sound bite thing."
For clarification, Englund does admit he met with Lucas during the casting process for Star Wars, though the meeting was not as serious as the rumor suggests, nor did Englund even read for a part. According to Englund, he had actually gone to the building to audition for a part in Apocalypse Now. Coincidentally, Lucas and the Star Wars crew were casting their movie across the hall, and the future Freddy Krueger was brought in just to see if he'd be a match, at least physically, for any available roles. For better or for worse, however, Englund didn't appear to be a good fit for Han Solo or anyone else. As Englund explains:
"I wasn't right for anything. 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."
Perhaps Englund just wasn't meant to be in Star Wars, but his failure to land the role still resulted in one of the most important castings of the Star Wars franchise. Speaking in the interview, Englund also recalls looking at the sides they had available for actors to read. He was particularly impressed with the Luke Skywalker role, though as a character actor, he knew the part wasn't right for him personally. However, he did think it would be great for his roommate at the time - a young actor by the name of Mark Hamill. After Englund's meeting, he immediately told Hamill about the movie, leading to Hamill's own legendary casting in the series.
"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."
It's certainly amusing to think about Freddy Krueger and Luke Skywalker hanging out in the years before Robert Englund and Mark Hamill were famous for the roles. Maybe Englund was destined to find his way in the horror genre, but as the man who led Hamill to the franchise, he will always have an important role in the history of Star Wars. Be sure to catch Englund on his upcoming Travel Channel series True Terror with Robert Englund. You can read Englund's full interview at Fantha Tracks.