I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the young actor attempting to fill Harrison Ford’s shoes.

Outside of that, though, today’s revelation that Han Solo will be one of the characters carrying a spinoff Star Wars movie is about the best news fans could hope for. Today's announcements simultaneously solidify the franchise's future without ignoring its past. And these are the latest in what I now consider a long line of exhilarating decisions that suddenly have me very excited about the potential of Star Wars on the silver screen.

You know all about J.J. Abrams getting hired for Episode VII. Buried in the EW story revealing plans for standalone Han Solo and Boba Fett movies, though, are some extremely interesting details that are suggestions right now, but seem to come from sources in the know. For instance, the Han Solo “origin” films likely will take place within the confines of the original trilogy. Specifically, it’s believed the story will take place “in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars” movie.

And, as the site points out, that means Darth Vader is fair game as a villain.

That kind of confident, outside-the-box thinking in terms of the existence of a pre-established franchise reminds me of the way Abrams figured out how to glide back into the world of Star Trek without wrecking everything that had been established in earlier films. I’m not saying that the Star Wars standalone movies need to dabble in time travel the way Abrams’ Trek reboot did. But having faceless and/or CGI villains like Vader, Jabba the Hut, Greedo and more means you don’t have to account for aging actors. You can find the right Han Solo and have him move around the spaces of the original trilogy without taking a blowtorch to Star Wars history. Chewbacca could come back. Yoda could factor in. There’s such potential.

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