Al Pacino on Turning Down Han Solo Role in 'Star Wars': 'I Gave Harrison Ford a Career'

During a recent discussion at The 92nd Street Y in New York City, Al Pacino shed light on turning down the iconic role of Han Solo in 1977's 'Star Wars.'

Al Pacino speaks at The 92nd Street Y, New York

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Al Pacino speaks at The 92nd Street Y, New York

Fresh off his career-making roles in The Godfather franchise and Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino was offered the part of Han Solo in 1977’s Star Wars.

As reported by Variety, Pacino spoke about nearly joining George Lucas’ iconic film during a recent discussion at The 92nd Street Y in New York City. Pacino joked that Harrison Ford, who was ultimately cast as Han Solo, owes him credit for making him a box office superstar. 

“Well, I turned down Star Wars,” Pacino recalled. “When I first came up, I was the new kid on the block, you know what happens when you first become famous. It’s like, ‘Give it to Al.’ They’d give me Queen Elizabeth to play. They gave me a script called Star Wars … They offered me so much money. I don’t understand it. I read it. … So I said I couldn’t do it. I gave Harrison Ford a career.”

Elsewhere in his career-spanning discussion, Pacino revealed that he prefers The Godfather to The Godfather Part II, largely because he believes the former is “more entertaining.”

When asked if he agrees with some of the franchise’s biggest fans that Part II is superior to the first film, Pacino replied: “No, I don’t. I really think it’s more — what would you call it — artistic or something, I don’t know. I don’t mean to play it down and be overly modest because I star in it with Bob de Niro, but at the same time, it’s a different film.”

Pacino continued, “You see, The Godfather is more entertaining. Godfather II is this study, this personal thing for Francis [Ford Coppola]. Godfather I, I saw it recently, it’s always got two or three things going on in a scene. You’re always in the story, you’re going. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, it’s storytelling, it’s really storytelling at its best. Godfather II sort of linearizes, and [it’s] kind of different, somber, moves slowly. But it’s a great movie, I have to say.”

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