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“There were some people I really liked”: Indiana Jones isn’t the Only George Lucas Franchise, Nick Nolte Nearly Starred in a Major Star Wars Role That Went to a DC Star

Nick Nolte missed two big opportunities to be a significant name in pop culture. Despite his popularity as a leading man in the industry, the actor could not bag a chance to work with George Lucas, not once but twice. While many fans know he was a potential candidate to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he was also in the mix to play a prominent character in Star Wars.

Nick Nolte lost two major George Lucas movies
Nick Nolte in The Deep | Columbia Pictures

After starting his career as a model, Nick Nolte got his big breakthrough an Emmy-nominated performance in the 1976 miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man. Following the show, the actor also went on to bag some prominent hits and critically appreciated roles like The Prince of Tides. 

However, Nick Nolte’s journey to stardom could have been much easier, had he got to play Han Solo or Luke Skywalker in George Lucas’ 1977 space-opera flick.

How did Nick Nolte involve himself with Star Wars?

Nick Nolte was almost a part of Star Wars
Nick Nolte in a still from North Dallas Forty | Paramount Pictures

When George Lucas first conceptualized Star Wars, the visual effects and the grand scaling were his major concerns. As revealed by casting director Dianne Crittenden in an interview with Empire, the makers called everyone and saw at least 3,500 people to star in the classic- “Anyone even vaguely in the right age-group came in to see us.”

Several reports state that Nick Nolte was also in this massive crowd as a potential candidate for Han Solo, the role that later went on to Harrison Ford and made him a household name. But it looks like Solo was not the only character he wanted to play.

According to Dianne Crittenden, Mark Hamill was not the initial choice to play the protagonist Luke Skywalker. Crittenden stated that she liked Nick Nolte’s audition for Luke but George Lucas felt that the DC actor reflected more of the farmer look that was desired for the role.

There were some people I really liked who didn’t get roles. I liked Nick Nolte for Luke… I don’t remember much of Mark Hamill. I don’t want to say it in a way that’s unflattering, but there was something that was maybe a little bleaker about Mark that George felt would make him more the farmer who was in over his head. 

Although Nick Nolte failed to bag the first Star Wars film, his destiny played a fascinating part and made him return to the franchise with The Mandalorian series. The star who almost starred as Luke Skywalker or Han Solo voiced the character of Kuiil in the Pedro Pascal series. Kuiil is also hailed as one of the best characters from the Disney+ Star Wars show.

Star Wars was not the only major miss by Nick Nolte

Nick Nolte missed out on Superman and Indiana Jones
Nick Nolte presented a Golden Globe-winning performance in The Prince of Tides | Columbia Pictures

After the mess with Star Wars, Nick Nolte’s luck offered him another shot at working under George Lucas. He was almost a part of 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, which kickstarted the Indiana Jones franchise. Similar to the Han Solo scenario, Nolte gave away another good chance to Harrison Ford by turning down the titular role.

The franchise produced by George Lucas became one of the most popular IPs and gave another major push to Harrison Ford’s career. Nonetheless, Nick Nolte’s list of missed opportunities doesn’t end here as the Tropic Thunder actor also turned down Superman.

Before Christopher Reeve immortalized his version of Kal-El in the 1978 film, the makers had a very strange list of candidates for the role. In an interview with Insider, Nolte confessed that he sabotaged his career by uniquely rejecting the Richard Donner classic. To force the makers to pass on him, the Hulk actor said he would only do it if the character was schizophrenic.

It is unfortunate that Nick Nolte got many chances to be a pop culture favorite but failed to utilize any of them.

The Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies can be streamed on Disney+. 

This post belongs to FandomWire and first appeared on FandomWire

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