Slate magazine finds and discusses the original screen tests for Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
It's hard to imagine a time when there was any question of who is Luke Skywalker and who is Han Solo. Although I didn't see Star Wars as a little kid, I did see it when it first came out and that is over thirty years ago now. The only person who could ever have embodied the boyish, whiny Luke as he grew up to be a somber Jedi was Mark Hamill, and of course the only person who could mumble Han's convoluted lines and look roguishly handsome at the same time was Harrison Ford.
But there was a time when even George Lucas didn't know that, and so there were screen tests. Hamill is himself in his and already sounds every inch the part. Listening to Kurt Russell's take on Han Solo is amazing, though - he would have been great, too, but it wouldn't have been Star Wars. His Kurt Plissken, like Mel Gibson's Mad Max, is one of the characters I most admire in fantasy movies.
Mark Hamill's screen test
William Katt's screen test with Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell's screen test