A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away things could’ve been a little more different than what they are, as according to actor Glynn Turman (Cooley High, A Different World, House Of Lies, Super 8) he auditioned for a role in Star Wars, back in 1977.
Talking to Yahoo Entertainment, Turman explained that after talking to George Lucas, he auditioned for a role in Star Wars, a role that would eventually be for none other than Harrison Ford.
“I remember going up to see [George] Lucas for a picture they were going to do called Star Wars. At that time it was an audition. I went in and auditioned. I forgot all about it, and then I went right into J.D.’s Revenge and two or three films right after that. Of course, the film would come out and it was a gigantic hit. But I almost don’t even remember that I had gone in for it. I didn’t see up there on the screen what part I was [auditioning] for. So to me, I said, ‘Oh, they cut the part of the black guy out.’ I had no idea that it was for the part of Han Solo.”
He found out that he had auditioned to be Han Solo thanks to the book Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, where it was revealed that he was up for the part of Han Solo before Ford was cast.
In that book, Lucas admitted that he didn’t want to cast Turman as Solo because he was aware of the eventual romance between Leia and Han and didn’t want a ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ situation.
Here’s the extract of the book:
Lucas was aware that if he developed the love interest between Han and Leia, an interracial romance could cause problems. “I didn’t want to make Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at that point, so I sort of backed off,” [Lucas] acknowledges.
Eventually, Lucas wanted Turman to audition for another role, Lando Calrissian, but he thinks he wasn’t the right choice for the part and that Billy Dee Williams was the right man to do it.
“Later, I was approached for the role, in that same franchise, that [was given to] Billy Dee Williams. Handsome, swashbuckling, dashing Billy Dee. I hate him! Not true. a dear friend and a talented man. Lando Calrissian! That wouldn’t have fit me anyway. But it fits a Billy Dee Williams.”
In regards to representation, however, Turman does think that Star Wars missed a great opportunity, as they are in space with tons of different races of aliens but… no black people in sight?
“We’ve got Chewbacca, we’ve got [R2-D2]. … You see the bar, everything in the world in [the Mos Eisley Cantina] you couldn’t imagine, and then all of the sudden there are no black people? … So yes, to answer your question, I think there was an opportunity missed because I’m sure, just box-office-wise, if more ethnicities had been included in the original, if you can imagine, it would have taken in even more money. It would have been more loved than it already is as a franchise. But better late than never.”
More than thirty years later, he’s glad that the Star Wars franchise has cast more black actors, naming Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu in the prequels, and is especially glad that we now have John Boyega -Finn- playing a major role in the new trilogy.
“John Boyega is playing a major role, so to Lucas’s credit and to the credit of the franchise, it was an idea that was probably ahead of its time at that time, but not forgotten. My hat’s off to the franchise for sticking to its idea.”
What do you think about this news? Did you know that this could’ve been possible?
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If you’re feeling in need of some Star Wars, be sure to check Star Wars The Last Jedi, as it is already in every theatre near you!
Source: Yahoo Entertainment