Bleats

Star Wars Nearly Got A Black Han Solo Had George Lucas Not Gotten Cold Feet

Missed opportunity.

Han Solo is arguably the most popular character in Star Wars, so much so that Harrison Ford visibly resents all the attention he gets for breathing life into the half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder. But had the cogs of history turned slightly differently, George Lucas would’ve not only cast someone else as Han Solo, the character would’ve been black.

In Empire‘s “Secret History of Star Wars” feature, it was revealed that George Lucas wasn’t looking for anyone with any specific background or ethnicity for the role of Han Solo and he wound up seeing a lot of people for the role.

One of the people Lucas saw for the role was a young black actor by the name Glynn Turman and was impressed by the guy’s audition. From Turman’s point-of-view, he thought Lucas was “very professional” and decidedly not “Hollywoodish,” which made his audition easy.

All the pieces were in place for Turman to get the role of Han Solo… except George Lucas got cold feet.

That’s an understatement.

Due to how he envisioned the relationship between Princess Leia and Han, Lucas got nervous that controversy would arise from having an interracial relationship onscreen. This is pretty preposterous nowadays but keep in mind that the 70s were a much different time and folks weren’t quite as open-minded back then.

Lucas worried the controversy that may arise from seeing a black Han Solo getting together with a white Princess Leia will overshadow Star Wars as a whole and so he decided to cast Harrison Ford instead just to be on the safe side.

Yeah, yeah don’t get cocky, kid.

It’s an absolute shame we never got the black Han Solo George Lucas wanted as it would’ve made Star Wars one of the more progressive sci-fi films ever, but his concerns were understandable given the context (again, it was the 70s).

Still, we’re left with what might’ve been had Glynn Turman got to play that scruffy-looking nerf herder instead of Harrison Ford. He’ll likely be far more grateful and less grumpy when asked about the character compared to Ford that’s for sure.

Never Forget When JK Rowling Likened Being A Werewolf To Having AIDS

There are many, far better analogies to use and you go with that one?

JK Rowling has done a pretty good job at George Lucas-ing all the goodwill she built up from the Harry Potter series. While she has said questionable things about the series over the years, some funny and some less so, the one that still sticks out was when she compared those suffering from lycanthropy (i.e being a werewolf) in Harry Potter to those suffering from HIV/AIDS in the real world.

The only appropriate reaction.

Back in 2016, Rowling dropped a book of Harry Potter trivia, titled Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, and it contained a very interesting tidbit about how Remus Lupin, the series’ token werewolf character, was meant to be a metaphor for the stigma faced by those suffering from diseases like HIV/AIDS.

“Lupin’s condition of lycanthropy was a metaphor for those illnesses that carry a stigma, like HIV and AIDS. All kinds of superstitions seem to surround blood-borne conditions, probably due to taboos surrounding blood itself. The wizarding community is as prone to hysteria and prejudice as the Muggle one, and the character of Lupin gave me a chance to examine those attitudes.”

Okay, I see what you’re trying to say there, JK Rowling, but how could you not see the issue with that particular metaphor?

Look, we’re confused too.

HIV/AIDS is a disease spread by bodily fluids that suppresses the body’s immune system. It is something folks have to treat and monitor every day, and there’s still a big of a negative stigma about the disease among uninformed people.

Being a werewolf means you can live a normal life except for whenever there’s a full moon, in which case you’d turn into a vicious, uncontrollable beast who could infect others with lycanthropy by biting others. Oh, and many people in Harry Potter hate werewolves.

I can see how JK Rowling is trying to compare the negative stigma of being a werewolf to the negative stigma of having HIV/AIDS, but using a fictional beast that infects others through biting as a metaphor perhaps isn’t the best idea.

If Rowling wanted to talk about AIDS and the stigma associated with it, she could’ve just given a character AIDS instead of going through the trouble of making someone a werewolf and explaining to fans what it all actually means.

Probably should’ve gone back to the drawing board on this metaphor, JK Rowling.

Unsurprisingly, folks on the internet weren’t too happy about this little metaphor and JK Rowling responded on Twitter by, well, side-stepping the issue a bit before essentially saying “this has been known for a while, you just missed it.”

Perhaps is a good thing she has resorted to revealing oddball facts like how wizards and witches dispose of their bowel movements because god forbid we get another problematic JK Rowling metaphor.

There's A Lot To Be Learned From 'Joker' And Its $1 Billion Earnings Run

Laughing all the way to the bank.

There were a few doubts about the Joker film before its release. Would Joaquin Phoenix put on a great show as the Clown Prince of Crime? Will it be good without Batman in it (technically)? Is it going to even make any money?

Well as it turns out, not only was Joaquin Phoenix fantastic, the Batman-less film was good enough to make a lot of money. Like, a lot of money.

Laughing all the way to the bank.

Warner Bros. (via Entertainment Weekly) has confirmed that Joker will cross the $1 billion worldwide box office mark, making it the first R-rated film in history to do so and the most profitable comic book movie made by virtue of its (relatively) low budget compared to, well, almost every other comic book movie.

It’s honestly astonishing that Joker has reached the $1 billion milestone given all the polarising pre-release buzz but hey, it proves that we know nothing about what the audience wants.

But in saying that though, there are a few lessons to be taken from this little(ish) Joaquin Phoenix-starring vehicle that could shape how Hollywood approaches movie-making going forward.

Who needs China anyway?

The biggest surprise surprise about Joker‘s $1 billion dollar run is how it managed to do so without being released in China, which is arguably the most profitable country for making box-office dollars outside of the U.S.

With a greater number of studios doing deals with Chinese companies and compromising content just to appease China (and its wallet), it’s quite pleasing to see a film be so wildly successful without the need to brown-nose another country.

That certainly bodes well for future films as it demonstrates that you don’t need to suck up to an authoritarian country to make money.

People seem to like stuff that’s different and weird (and good)

If you look at the list of highest-earning films of 2019, all the ones that out-grossed Joker were all easily-digestible family fare.

It’s simply mind-boggling how a violent and unsettling film like Joker could be so successful yet so seemingly commercially unfriendly given how it’s missing Batman, aka its most marketable element.

It goes to show that people dig different films that aren’t aimed at children or to sell toys, and they particularly like them when they’re, you know, actually pretty damn good as well.

That’s a promising lesson for filmmakers: make movies the big studios can’t, offer something different, make sure it’s good (duh) and people will come.

Y’all still love comic book movies

Despite the deluge of comic book films that get dropped upon us every year and the cries of “superhero film fatigue,” Joker‘s success shows that everyone is still frothing on them and will be for the foreseeable future.

Martin Scorsese ain’t going to be happy about this.

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