Raiders of the Lost Ark on W9: George Lucas didn’t want Harrison Ford in the role of Indiana Jones

Raiders of the Lost Ark on W9 George Lucas didnt

Raiders of the Lost Ark, cult work of Steven Spielberg, could never have been taken by Harrison Ford … because of George Lucas! Explanations.

Indiana Jones, the world’s most famous archaeologist, invented by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, is inseparable from comedian Harrison Ford. However, in the early ’80s, when the two directors were looking for the right person to put on Indy’s hat, they didn’t think at all of who was playing Han Solo in Star Wars.


The story is well known, Spielby and Lucas had set their sights on Tom Selleck, young actor of 35 years in full rise. Everything was ready for the actor, including the costume and hat, designed especially for him. “Clothes alone have no value or meaning if they are not worn by a specific person. And I assure you the costume would have been very different if Tom Selleck, the original Indiana Jones actor, had shot the movie instead of Harrison Ford.“, explains costume designer Deborah Nadoolman, quoted in Mad Movies Classic” Indiana Jones, in the footsteps of the greatest cinema adventurer “(Alexandre Poncet, Cédric Delelée and Gilles Esposito).


At the last moment, Tom Selleck had to decline the offer, stuck by his contract binding him to the CBS channel for the Magnum series. This story about the man with the mustache is very famous. What is less known is that George Lucas was fiercely opposed to entrusting the role of adventurer to Harrison Ford. The actor had yet passed tests, like a certain Sam Neill, who will later play the paleontologist Alan Grant in Jurassic Park.


For the Star Wars dad, it is a clear and categorical refusal. Harrison Ford is already Han Solo, he can’t be Indiana Jones too. George Lucas also insists that he does not want to follow the example of Martin Scorsese, who connects films with Robert De Niro. It was without counting on the determination of Steven Spielberg, impressed by Ford in the rushes of The Empire strikes back. He manages to convince his friend to make an appointment with the actor again for screen tests.

Harrison Ford gives it all! His performance is so impressive that he manages to change George Lucas’ mind. Conquered, the filmmaker agrees to hire the actor. Spielberg is delighted, these tests have further confirmed him in the idea that he had made the right choice. This decision was not to the taste of the entire film crew, especially the costume designer Deborah Nadoolman, who had to start her job from scratch.


“I had completely finished the costume for Tom Selleck, and when he left I was extremely disappointed”, remembers the artist. “Honestly, we didn’t know what to do! Our reaction to all of us was: What? Han Solo will be Indiana Jones? Really? We had Tom Selleck, he was superb, we liked him very much. We had to make the transition very quickly, and deliver a prototype suit two days later “, adds the one who is also the costume designer for Michael Jackson’s Thriller clip.

Eventually, his work will pay off. The look of Indiana Jones in the first installment will help forge the legend of a mythical character. Harrison Ford will not be long in taking up the whip of the intrepid archaeologist for a 5th opus, expected on July 27, 2022.

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