Fans are still mourning the unexpected death of Carrie Fisher on Dec. 27, 2016. Though the legend is gone, she is still finding ways to surprise fans. In an archive interview reprinted in the latest issue of SFX Magazine and shared on Games Radar, it was revealed Fisher originally wanted to play Han Solo the first time she read the Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope script. This isn't too surprising, since most actors in Hollywood would have loved to play the snarky smuggler Harrison Ford made famous, but it is impossible not to grin imagining what Fisher would have been like in the role.
Star Wars was already revolutionary for its time. The franchise presented a galaxy full of diversity where a princess like Leia could also be a brilliant military strategist. Having Fisher step into the role of the swaggering Han would have been downright inspired, though. Han possess so many characteristics associated with heroic males, the gender flip would have challenged the norms of the time in a big way.
Although she was just 19 when she landed the role of Leia, Fisher went on to be known for her candid and witty quips — a trait it is easy imagining her honing while wearing Han's holster. "I remember I read the script out loud with a friend of mine, Miguel Ferrer. It read fantastic," Fisher reportedly said in the interview. "We both wanted to play the part of Han Solo because that was the best part. I couldn’t imagine how they were going to pull it off [but] I definitely wanted to be in it given that they had a chance at pulling it off."
Ford went on to make the roguish Han famous, while Fisher became an icon as Leia. There is no doubt a female Han would make for a fascinating shift in the Star Wars' dynamic, but Leia is arguably an even more influential character. As a prominent female lead in a sci-fi franchise who was not reduced to being a damsel in distress, Leia inspired generations of sci-fi-loving female fans. Without Fisher's nuanced portrayal, Leia simply would not have been the same.
The role of Han is flashier, but Leia's depth and humanity remains unmatched. When she was revealed to have ascended to the rank of general in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans cheered. Fisher may have been dazzled by the character of Han the first time she read the Star Wars script, but she and Leia were destined to be. She made sci-fi a safe place for young women everywhere, and opened the door for future brilliant and indomitable female Star Wars characters like Rey and Jyn.
Although, it must be said, if Fisher had been Han, she definitely would have shot first.