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As we learned a few weeks ago, Lucasfilm and Disney are currently developing a Star Wars prequel about Han Solo's early years. Set to be the second "Anthology" movie in the franchise, and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the movie will tell us how the brash, rogue smuggler came to become who he was before the days of Luke, Leia and Obi-wan. What has remained unclear about the project, however, is exactly how old the character will be in the story. That question now has an answer: late teens, early 20s.
As part of their big recent Star Wars spread, Entertainment Weekly recently had the opportunity to chat with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy about the development of the Han Solo prequel movie, and it was during their conversation that she revealed just how old we can expect the lead character to be when the story begins. Seemingly referencing the less-than-beloved young version of Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Kennedy explained,
He’ll definitely be probably in the high teens, low 20s. We’re not introducing you to a 10-year-old Han Solo.
In case you were wondering, Harrison Ford was 35 years old when he played Han Solo for the first time in 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope, so this means that the new film will be set approximately 15 years before the events in that movie. This is actually a rather perfect window, as it should keep the door open for interactions with great characters with ties to Han's past - like Lando Calrissian, Jabba The Hutt, and Boba Fett (who, it's been rumored, will be getting an anthology film of his own).
What's also obviously interesting about this revelation is what it means for the casting process. The EW piece says that the production is not even close to the part of the development where they find a star - but it's also a clear sign that those stories about 35-year-old Aaron Paul from a while ago are totally bogus. Instead, it looks like the film will instead go after an actor who fits more in the age range of the new Spider-Man, Tom Holland (who turned 19 this summer). This means that it's entirely possible that the actor who winds up playing the young Han Solo will be a total newcomer who we haven't actually seen in anything yet.
Gareth Edward's Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One is going to be the first of the non-saga Star Wars movies released - scheduled to come out in December 2016 - and Phil Lord and Chris Miller's untitled Han Solo adventure is on pace to come out in May 2018 - a full year after the release of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII in May 2017. Knowing this, it could be two more years before we find out who will actually be taking on the role, but we'll be hungrily waiting to see who the candidates are.