Who Else Was Considered?: James Caan, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Billy Dee Williams, James Woods, many, many others
Who Would Have Done the Best?: Out of the stars listed, who are all great actors, Kurt Russell would be able to get the closest to Ford's mix of charm, humor and badass. However Billy Dee Williams clearly does great work in Star Wars movies and would have been great as Han.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: Absolutely. He completely embodied the cowboy character and brought so much to the franchise in his unique interpretation. It says a lot that he was even cast with Lucas trying to find anybody else to play the part. He really was the only option.
Who Else Was Considered?: James Caan
Who Would Have Done the Best?: Well James Caan would have been fine and he clearly works well with Coppola. His career would have been better for accepting the lower salary for this smaller role.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: Not Ford's best known role but having two Coppola credits rounds out his filmography a bit.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Who Else Was Considered?: Jeff Bridges, Willem Dafoe, Tim Matheson, Sam Neill, Nick Nolte, Tom Selleck, many others
Who Would Have Done the Best?: While Selleck was the top choice (couldn't accept due to his commitment to Magnum P.I.) I would have gone with Jeff Bridges out of that list. Bridges has a great sense of humor and a leading man quality. Would have been entertaining in the role and able to carry the movies well.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: Even more than Han Solo, Ford made this movie. As capable as the other actors are the movies would not have worked the same without him.
Who Else Was Considered?: James Caan, Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, Robert Mitchum
Who Would Have Done the Best?: There were a wide variety of stars up for this one and they all would have brought something interesting and different. The role was designed for Mitchum and the producers spent months courting Hoffman. But I think that a young Tommy Lee Jones would have fit in the dystopian setting the best and would have led his career in a different direction.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: Yes, while not a huge success this movie is still revered. Don't think that he was as necessary of a component in this one as he is in other movies, as this is not an actor's film. But Ford has always been able to give a movie what it needs and not distract.
Who Else Was Considered?: Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone
Who Would Have Done the Best?: Jack liked the script but didn't commit because there was no director at that time. Jack has played similar types in movies such as Chinatown and can play the romantic angle well. Sly would have worked but not as well, although it was better movies than he was acting in at the time.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: This is Ford's sole Oscar nomination. The movie is still regarded as one of the best action movies of all time. He is believable as an action star but he does have a great character arc and is just as entertaining in the romantic scenes.
Who Else Was Considered?: Alec Baldwin
Who Would Have Done the Best?: Baldwin's Ryan was well-received in Hunt for Red October and he would have worked reprising the role. Would have certainly helped Baldwin's film career.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: This was a casting change that worked. Casting a bigger star for the sequels probably helped the movies' box-office.
Who Else Was Considered?: Alec Baldwin, Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia
Who Would Have Done the Best?: I think that out of the three Garcia would have been the most interesting, he was a recent Oscar nominee at the time and could have brought some prestige to the movie. The other two were always up for many of the same roles as Ford and probably would not have brought too much different to it.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: Ford is an intelligent action star, doubtful that the movie would have been nominated for Best Picture without him as the human leading character.
Air Force One
Who Else Was Considered?: Kevin Costner
Who Would Have Done the Best?: Costner would have been alright but not great. He has never quite worked as an action star, his best roles are more dramatic in nature. However he turned down this role that was intended for him to make Postman which really hurt his career.
Did it Work Out with Ford?: This was a huge success that many still love. Ford can really elevate an action film.