With Rogue One still storming the box office and production wrapped on Episode VIII, Lucasfilm has started to gear up for their next entry in the Star Wars cannon—2018’s young Han Solo film. Casting rumors for Han’s first solo flick have been swirling around the internet for some time and now one of the most exciting rumors has been confirmed: Former Cheers star Woody Harrelson has joined the cast in what is being described as a “key role.” That confirmation comes courtesy of Lucasfilm via directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. “We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody,” said Lord and Miller in a statement. “His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”
There’s no official word on exactly who Harrelson will be playing—though we’ve speculated a few options you can check out here—but the popular theory is that he’ll act as some kind of mentor to the young and struggling smuggler. In that case, the quote from Miller and Lord might be letting in on more than it means. A nice balance of “humor and pathos” is a pretty good way to describe Solo’s presence in the original trilogy, and it’d make sense that he’d have gleamed a little bit of that disposition from some kind of mentor and/or father figure. We could definitely see Harrelson taking on the role of an older, master smuggler ushering Solo into the galaxy’s underworld.
Of course we won’t really know anything until more details leak as the film get’s deeper into production. But no matter what we’re excited to see what part Harrelson will play in our favorite smuggler’s formative years. If you have any thoughts on what that could be, let us know in the comments!