Solo: A Star Wars Story hits cinemas in May and naturally there’s a huge buzz about it – not simply because it’s the latest Star Wars movie; not simply because the last (and first) Star Wars spin off film, Rogue One, was such a critically acclaimed success; not only (or perhaps despite?) because it is directed by one of Hollywood’s most successful and long-standing directors, Ron Howard – but because of the Han factor.

Star Wars: Doesn’t Look Or Sound Like Han? Does It Matter?

Han Solo, arguably Star Wars’ single most iconic character, (I said arguably!), originally performed by one of Hollywood’s single most charismatic, laconic, downright handsome leading men, Harrison Ford, is getting a reboot – and it will be coming from Alden Ehrenreich, who knocked it out of the park in Oscar-nominated hit, Hail, Cesar!, as silver screen throwback, Hobie Doyle.

But, forget all that good stuff, because there are murmurings of discontent among the Star Wars fan base. The problem is that Ehrenreich just doesn’t cut the mustard, and, in fairness, although this writer has loved the Solo trailers thus far, there’s no denying it: Alden Ehrenreich just does not look or sound like Ford’s Han Solo. The question is, then, not if we like the film or not (literally no-one knows, yet), nor if Ehrenreich puts in a solid performance (again, no-one knows), but whether he’s been miscast or not, and, if so, just how badly (pure speculation) this will affect the Solo backstory instalment as a whole.

Clearly, the stakes are high, and the collective sigh of disappointment among Star Wars fans was palpable when those first trailers came out. This writer would humbly argue, however, that it does not matter one parsec how little Ehrenreich resembles Ford’s Han Solo. After all, who could resemble him, other than an outright Harrison Ford cardboard cutout impressionist – that’s the thing with unique talents, they don’t come around very often. Take for example, the all-time greatest backstory/sequel performance of all time.

Marlon Brando, the greatest film actor of them all, gave one of his most memorable performances in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Effortlessly powerful and charismatic, Brando’s Vito Corleone commanded instant respect with his aura of invincibility, intelligence and quiet, magnetic strength. So, when rising star (notice the parallel?), Robert De Niro was cast to play an earlier version of Don Corleone, in The Godfather Part II, as he first establishes his empire in early-20th century New York, there were naturally many a raised eyebrow.

Did De Niro look like Marlon Brando? He did not. Did De Niro sound like Marlon Brando? He did not. What he did do, however, was take elements of Brando’s vocal and physical performance, and imagine what might have been the geneses of those gestures and inflections. Then he went and gave one of the greatest ever performances in modern cinema.

OK, let’s not go crazy and start expecting a De Niro-Vito Corleone level of performance. But what we can do is trust that Alden Ehrenreich’s natural talent and charisma will shine through, and that he’ll give enough suggestions of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo for us to believe in him. Star Wars folk, we respect and admire your dedication to the cause, but until we have at least seen the film, let’s fly casual.