Top Ten Han Solo Rip Offs (part 1)
Not that that’s a problem really. If you’re going to rip off a film you might as well make it a good one. And anyway, its not like there was much original about Star Wars in the first place.
One of the most successful, and therefore most frequently stolen, aspect of Star Wars is the character of Han Solo.
Once you start thinking about it you’ll find that Han starts turning up in all sorts of places. That scruffy looking nerf herder gets everywhere. Being the type of person who enjoys doing such things I thought I’d write a top ten list about it. Because that’s just the way I roll baby.
Here we go:
10. Space Cowboy: Battle Beyond the Stars
A kind of cross between Han Solo and Rubber Duck from Convoy, George Peppard’s portrayal of Space Cowboy in the 1980 movie Battle Beyond the Stars was one of the more enjoyable features of that train wreck of a film.
Despite the fact that Lee and I only recorded a podcast on the movie last month I can’t actually remember that much about Battle Beyond the Stars. This is not necessarily a bad thing however. No doubt my brain’s healing mechanism is trying to cope with the trauma.
I do remember Peppard’s cowboy hat, boots, and cool trucker space ship interior however. Yea-haa!
9. Captain Lone Starr: Spaceballs
I strongly suspect that Mel Brooks’ Star Wars spoof Spaceballs is one of those films that’s a hell of a lot better when you see it when you’re fourteen than when you do and you’re thirty six. I know Lee ran a feature for a while over on his blog when he attempted to make his way through the Spaceballs spin-off animated series. Rather predictably it all ended in bitter tears of remorse and regret.
Captain Lone Starr was Brooks’ comedy version of Han Solo and was played by the interminably smug Bill Pullman. Interestingly enough there was no real form of Luke Skywalker type character in the movie, which goes a long way to comment on the successfulness of Luke as the primary hero. Stupid farm boys.
8. Joseph Korso: Titan A.E.
This is the second entry in quick succession for Bill Pullman. However this time he’s in animated form so you don’t have to look at his self satisfied puffy little face (I’m not overly keen on Pullman,can you tell?).
Despite what Lee may think, Titan A.E. is actually a rather good film, and to his credit Pullman pulls off a pretty decent Han Solo impression here. Ably helped by a writing team that included Joss Whedon of course.
The character of Joe Korso replicates that delicious moral greyness that Han Solo had, yet with the satisfaction of the right choices being made in the end. Great stuff.
7. Flynn Rider: Tangled
A dubious one really as Tangled‘s Flynn Rider doesn’t really have the right level of cynical world weariness that marks out a truly great Han Solo clone.
However in other ways he fits the mold perfectly – He’s a swashbuckling charismatic rogue and thief who begins the movie in-it-for-the-money, but who’s morals get the better of him by the end.
He even has a hairy sidekick (granted it’s a horse rather than a rookie, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Plus he falls in love with a princess, that’s got to count for something.
6. Slippery Jim DiGriz: Stainless Steel Rat
Hey, look at me! I’m getting all literary! Slippery Jim DiGriz is the main character in the Stainless Steel Rat books by acclaimed science fiction writer Harry Harrison. As well as winning a number of industry awards and accolades, the Stainless Steel Rat series wins the Dan Hughes award for funniest SF/Fantasy books of all time.
Admittedly Slippery Jim is more of a con man than a smuggler,and far more competent than Han will ever be. and his first appearance was in the 1960s which sort of quashes any claims that Harrison was stealing from Lucas.
Nevertheless, like Solo, Slippery Jim DiGriz is a reluctant hero co-opted into doing good by forces outside his control. But as much as he superficially rails against it he secretly knows he’s a better fit on the side of good rather than evil.
And that’s it for today. Come back soon for part two of my list of top ten Han Solo rip offs. Same bat-time, same bat channel (well, maybe not same bat-time).
Any guesses as to who’ll make the top five? Disagree with any I’ve listed so far? Let me know in the comments.
[Edit - you can now see the top five on the second post in this series here]