Obi-Wan and Luke might not have heard of the Millennium Falcon before they walked into the Mos Eisley Cantina, but that doesn’t mean that hunk of junk and its charming smuggler captain were unknown to others in the galaxy far, far away. Which is why the second standalone Star Wars film from Lucasfilm and Disney is set to explore the adventures of our favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder in his younger, pre-original trilogy days. And while many details about the script are still fuzzy or unknown, you’ve come to the right star system to learn everything we know about the Han Solo spin-off… so far.
UPDATES! (Lots of Updates!)
According to Ben Fritz of The Wall Street Journal (which we came across at io9), Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that the movie will cover Han Solo’s life from the very young ages of 18-24, which will show how he acquired the Millennium Falcon and also his name.
Wait, what? His name? Yup, this prequel, which will explore how he saved Chewbacca’s life, won that old hunk of junk from Lando, and showed how he became a renowned smuggler, will also explain how he got the name Han Solo.
Unless it doesn’t.
Because it is possible this was just an unclear way of saying how he earned his reputation, and therefore his “name,” as opposed to how he earned a literal and new moniker like Han Solo.
One thing that isn’t ambiguous though is the name of Woody Harrelson’s character, which he told Jimmy Fallon is Beckett, a “criminal and mentor to Han.” That’s not the name of any known character in the Star Wars expanded universe, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be an iteration or adaptation of someone fans already know.
We aren’t surprised at all, but it is nice to finally have confirmation with this new cast and crew photo that Chewbacca will be next to Han in the film, which according to Lucasfilm will “explore the duo’s adventures before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, including their early encounters with that other card-playing rogue from a galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian.” What is slightly surprising news though is that it won’t be Peter Mayhew in the suit, but rather Joonas Suotamo, who he shared the role with in The Force Awakens. Considering Han and Chewie are a lot younger in this story, probably requiring much more physical action, the demands may have been a bit too much for the 72 year old Mayhew to take on.
THE OFFICIAL TITLE
Unfortunately the droids we found were wiped clean on this topic, as the movie does not yet have an official name. Its IMDb page still reads “Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film.” This second standalone Star Wars movie–Rogue One was the first–will eventually get an actual title, right? Right??
— Nerdist (@nerdist) January 30, 2017
PART ONE OF A TRILOGY
A charismatic rogue traveling the galaxy on a serious of exciting and dangerous adventures would make for a great television series, let alone a single movie, which is probably why Disney is reportedly planning on making this it’s own mini-franchise within the Star Wars universe. We’re fairly sure Disney isn’t worried about the odds of finding success with three young Han Solo films.
FILMING AND RELEASE
The movie is scheduled for a May 28th, 2018 release, but we know that after six months of pre-production shooting has officially begun in London, because co-director Chris Miller told the world via Twitter about filming the first scene. This is from the set on January 30th, and no, “Red Cup” is not the name of the movie, it’s a joke. What is the most famous type of red cup? Yes, a “Solo” cup. We’d groan about that Dad Joke, but we’re letting him off the hook for the great “Han shot first” reference.
— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) January 30, 2017
WRITERS / DIRECTORS
Speaking of directors, Miller is leading the way with his writing and directing partner Phil Lord, the same duo that directed the 21 Jump Street films as well as The LEGO Movie. They didn’t write the script though, as those duties went to Star Wars royalty Lawrence Kasdan, the man who penned The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He co-wrote this Han Solo prequel with his son, Jon Kasdan.
CAST: CHARACTERS WE ALREADY KNOW
Despite the OG Han Solo, Harrison Ford, telling prospective young actors “don’t do it” (though for slightly funnier reasons than it might sound like), the cast is loaded, with the title role being played by Hail, Caesar‘s breakout star Alden Ehrenreich, who beat out a reported 3,000 other actors to land the chance to take on an iconic part, made famous by one of Hollywood’s most successful actors ever, in the biggest franchise of all time. No pressure there.
Image: 20th Century Fox
Ehrenreich will have best friend Chewbacca by his side, and the two will also come across another famous pal of theirs, young Lando Calrissian, who will be played by Community and Atlanta star Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino. We reached out to Disney to ask if we literally wished this bit of casting into existence through sheer will, but they strongly requested we stop asking that.
Image: 20th Century Fox
CAST: NEW CHARACTERS (TO THE BIG SCREEN, AT LEAST)
Every young smuggler needs to learn the tricks of the trade somewhere, and for Han Solo that person will be Beckett, played by Woody Harrelson, who has said his role in the film will be as “a mentor to Han,” but someone who is “also a bit of a criminal.” That just so happens to sound a lot like Garris Shrike, a father-like figure to Han from the EU, and a character that was one of our best guesses for whom Harrelson might play. Might they have just renamed one of those characters “Beckett?”
While there’s plenty of meat on the bone to speculate about Harrelson’s role, there’s almost nothing for us to go on for the only other confirmed member of the cast, the Mother of Dragons herself Emilia Clarke. Here’s what we currently know about her role: the Game of Thrones star is in the movie.
Honestly? That’s good enough for us to be over the moon and stars about her being involved, but we can’t help but wonder if she ended up being cast in the reported role that sounded an awful lot like the EU’s Sana Starros.
Image: Amazon Studios
A report from Entertainment Weekly says that Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the star of Amazon’s Fleabag, is nearing a deal to play a performance-capture character in the film, though her role at this time is still unknown. Digital characters have played prominent roles in the newest Star Wars movies, with The Force Awakens‘ Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, and Rogue One‘s Alan Tudyk as K-2SO, so it’s no surprise that such a character would appear in this movie, too. And according to Jeff Sneider, she’s maybe going to play the universe’s first female droid!
According to a report from Variety, Westworld star Thandie Newton is also in negotiations to join the film in an as-yet-unnamed role. MYSTERY AND INTRIGUE ABOUND!
You come at the scruffy nerf herder, you best not miss. StarWars.com has confirmed that that Michael K. Williams, who made the gun-toting Omar from The Wire one of the most memorable characters in television history, has officially joined the film. His role is still unknown, but considering the criminal life led by Han Solo and Williams’ ability to make even a violent gangster likable, we’d love to see him as a fellow smuggler. This news was initially reported by Entertainment Weekly when Williams was still in talks.
The movie takes place roughly ten years before A New Hope, which means we’ll find Han weaving his way through the firm grip of the Empire.
And that’s kind of it so far for real plot details. Everything else, like whether we’ll see Han winning the Millennium Falcon off of Lando, or at what point in their relationship we’ll see Han and Harrelson’s mentor, or if we’ll learn about how Chewie and Han became so close, is just speculation. If Sana Starros does end up being the female lead, that could mean we’ll be seeing a heist film, but like with elements of The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm might choose to borrow ideas from the old EU, but alter them in ways we can’t predict.
Until we learn more, we can only guess. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.
For being the second standalone film, could the young Han Solo movie have a very clear connection with Rogue One? It certainly seems possible, especially after Diego Luna himself was very evasive and suspicious about whether or not Cassian Andor could appear in the film. If he did, we could see him before he started doing horrible things in the name of the rebellion, which could add even more to his character in Rogue One.
So though we still have so many questions to answer, we know we’ll learn a lot more about the film between now and next May. So keep checking back here as we’ll be constantly updating with new information and rumors everything we know about the young Han Solo film.
In the meantime, pop into our comments section below and tell us what you think of the film, what you are looking forward to the most, and what you hope to see when young Han Solo comes to theaters.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm