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Star Wars: The Last Jedi has had its time in theaters, and just like how Rogue One arrived after The Force Awakens, now another standalone Star Wars movie is on the way, this time with the story centered on a notorious smuggler. What's going to happen when we see Han Solo played for the first time by somebody else? At this point, we know several of the pieces that will go into Solo: A Star Wars Story, but we have no idea how those parts will come together into something that is both fresh and new AND the familiar Han Solo that we know.
Here's everything that we know about Solo: A Star Wars Story so far.
What Have We Seen From Solo: A Star Wars Story?
Well, 2018 finally brought footage from Solo: A Star Wars Story, mostly in the form of a Super Bowl spot and the trailer you see above. While we still don't know a lot about the plot of Solo, the trailer does show that there seems to be some sort of heist involved, which makes a lot of sense considering the character. We also get some good looks at the supporting players, some of whom sport some classy duds for the movie, more action and more of Chewbacca than we got in the Super Bowl ad.
What Is The Han Solo Movie Release Date?
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were set as Christmas movies, the plan was for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to shift the release schedule of the franchise to the summer. While Episode VIII was originally supposed to be a summer release, but later moved to December 2017, Solo: A Star Wars Story is still set for a release early in the summer movie season, on May 25, 2018. This will follow the release of Avengers: Infinity War on April 27 and Deadpool 2 on May 18. One week after the Han Solo movie's release, we'll see the all-female Oceans 11 spinoff, Ocean's 8, and Disney will be back only two weeks later with The Incredibles 2 from Pixar on June 15.
What Is The Han Solo Movie Rating?
Now that the release of the film is just a few weeks away, we finally know what Solo: A Star Wars Story will be rated. Traditionally, Star Wars has been a PG franchise, however, both the final episode of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi received PG-13 ratings. The same was true of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the only previous Star Wars spinoff. And, Solo has also been granted a PG-13 rating, for "sequences of sci-fi action violence."
What Is The Han Solo Movie About?
It's been confirmed that Solo: A Star Wars Story will depict Han meeting Chewbacca and crossing paths with "notorious gambler" Lando Calrissian, but other than that, specific story details are being kept under wraps. J.J. Abrams, who is the keeper of all things Star Wars, has intimated that the movie will take place somewhere around 10 years prior to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. This potential time period is interesting because it sits basically smack in between the end of the prequel trilogy and the beginning of the original trilogy. The Empire will exist, and as a decent force, but not nearly at the level of power that they have in Star Wars: A New Hope. While many have likely been thinking that Solo: A Star Wars Story will try to recapture the look and feel of the original trilogy, in the same way that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story felt like its own thing, the fact is that the Han Solo movie could look unlike anything we've seen in Star Wars before. Separate from both trilogies in equal measure.
One story point that has been rumored for a while can finally be confirmed thanks to CinemaCon 2018: Han Solo winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. Even though we know now that this aspect of the plot is a reality, we can't really see the entire film being about it, so this is likely one plot point among several. However, it is good to hear that the scene in question which shows Han and Lando gambling it up for the soon-to-be infamous ship does a great job of showing off just why Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover were the perfect choices to play the eventual friends.
We also know that Han Solo's mentor, Tobias Beckett (more on him later) will be a major character in the movie, so we can probably expect to see how Han learned the skills to become a smuggler. And, according to Paul Bettany, who plays another underworld character named Dryden Vos, it sounds like the movie will explore some unsavory characters in the Star Wars universe and be something of a "gangster movie."
A lot of Han Solo's backstory has been told through the Expanded Universe of books and comics. While all the books that were written prior to Disney purchasing Lucasfilm have been deemed non-canonical, a handful of characters and events that started in that world have been repurposed by Disney, so it's possible that the story this movie will deal with is out there someplace in the canon already.
We know that Chewbacca is also a character in the new film as well, and the recently released synopsis makes it sound like, instead of having them working together already when it starts, the new film tell us how the two came together. If that really is the case, it will certainly be interesting to see that bit of Star Wars lore finally come to life on the big screen.
Based on something the writer has said (more about that on the next page) we'd guess that the movie will start sometime before Han Solo was a professional smuggler and will explain what events led him on the path that eventually placed him at the Mos Eisley cantina.
One of the names that has been attached to the Star Wars universe since very nearly the beginning is Lawrence Kasdan. He wrote the screenplays for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as well as The Force Awakens. Kasdan has announced that writing the Han Solo movie will be his last foray into the galaxy far, far away. He won't be alone, however, as his son Jon Kasdan is co-writing the film with him. About the only thing that Lawrence Kasdan has said is that the movie could see Han Solo at a time when he had not yet become the cynical scoundrel we all know in love. Instead, this could be the story of what turned him into that character.
Oh man, once upon a time this was an easy section to discuss. Originally, the director's chair was handed to a pair of accomplished directors. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, fresh off success turning, we'll go with unique concepts, into box office hits, like 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie, were given control of the film. It was an exciting idea for a lot of people as it gave a distinct indication that LucasFilm was looking for fresh takes and new ideas. However, it appears that what the pair were doing wasn't quite what the studio was expecting. In June of 2017, the pair was unceremoniously fired from the film during shooting and with only a few weeks of filming set to take place.
While specifics are being kept under wraps, the word is that the pair were allowing too much improvisation on their set and that upset both the studio and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. In addition, it sounds like production was moving slower than the studio wanted. Following the removal of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Ron Howard was announced to replace them.
From all reports, pretty much every male actor between 16 and 35 was considered by the team looking for the new Han Solo. As it turns out, they could have skipped all that because, while his name wasn't attached to the project until late in the process, Alden Ehrenreich was actually the very first person interviewed by the directors. He wasn't officially announced as the new Han Solo until Star Wars Celebration Europe in London in the summer of 2016, but the news broke online months prior to that.
Alden Ehrenreich is far from a household name. His biggest role to date was in early 2016 when he played a Hollywood cowboy in the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar!. That role was shy and unassuming, about everything that Han Solo is not. However, he was recognized by many as the highlight of the film and a capable actor. We're looking forward to seeing his Han Solo when the film finally hits theaters.
It wasn't even an entirely confirmed fact that the Han Solo movie was looking for a young Lando Calrissian when Disney announced that Donald Glover had been cast in the role. It makes sense. When the audience is introduced to Lando in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back it's clear that he and Han have a long history together. Of course we would want to see it. As previously mentioned, we're going to see how Lando gambled the Millennium Falcon and lost it to Han. Perhaps we'll even see what Lando was referring to when he said Han had a lot of nerve showing his face in Cloud City. What sort of friends does Han Solo have anyway?
You really can't have a Han Solo movie without Chewbacca. It was announced early on that Han's co-pilot would be part of the movie, but the most interesting piece of information in that regard is that we'll have a new actor in the costume. Peter Mayhew has been the man playing the walking carpet since the beginning, including the recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens and December 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, for the Han Solo movie we'll see Joonas Suotamo, the man who was Mayhew's body double, take over the role.
The recent Star Wars novel Aftermath: Life Debt, reaffirms the classic idea that the reason that Chewbacca travels with Han Solo is because the Wookie owes the smuggler his life, and thus has a debt to repay. However, the book does not go into the specifics of what exactly Han did. Possibly because the new film will tell that story. We do know that Han and Chewie will be newly acquainted in Solo, and because Chewbacca (at 190-years-old) has seen a lot more of life than Han has, he and the strong-willed youngster will butt heads a bit.
Beyond the characters that we've already met, little is known about the characters being played by other actors that are on the project. We know that Westworld actress Thandie Newton is aboard the project, and while we now know she's playing someone named Val, not much else has been confirmed about her character. Though, from the brief glimpses we've seen of her in the most recent trailer, it seems likely that Val is a member of the crew put together by Han's mentor. There were rumors early on of the production looking for an actress of color, but as Newton's name wasn't one of the names we'd originally heard were being considered, we can't even be certain she's playing that same role.
First, we heard Lucasfilm was looking at four candidates; but then that number was been reduced to three. Tessa Thompson of Creed, Naomi Scott of the new Power Rangers movie, and Zoe Kravitz of Mad Max: Fury Road were the names attached. When we first heard that none of the actresses under consideration were white, rumors pointed to the possibility that the character the chosen actress would play could be Sana Starros, the female smuggler who was recently introduced in the Star Wars comics and who once posed as Han Solo's wife. While this is certainly a possibility, without any additional information it is just as likely that the character will be an entirely new creation. And, just because the character is female doesn't mean that she and Han will even share any sort of romantic relationship.
One other female role that we do know has been cast is the one that's been given to Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke. There still isn't much information about her character (whose name is pronounced "Kira") and so details are essentially non-existent. Based on everything we heard about the other female lead role, we're inclined to believe that Clarke's part will be something other than the role the other actresses were testing for. The only information we have on Clarke's part in the movie is that she will play a woman who Han and Chewbacca come into contact with as they adventure around the galaxy. From what we can gather in the most recent trailer, Qi'Ra is actually the one who will introduce Han and Chewie to Lando, so we're excited to see what this character brings to the film.
One actor who we do know more about is Woody Harrelson. When officially announced, it was confirmed that the Hunger Games actor would be playing the role of Han Solo's mentor, a character named Tobias Beckett. While the character of Beckett appears to be an original creation for the film, what little we know makes him sound more than a little like Garris Shrike, a character from a series of Star Wars novels who had a similar relationship to Solo. How much the book character may influence the screen version is unclear, but whether intentional or not, we're guessing the two will have more than a few things in common.
If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, you may recognize Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the star of the UK TV import Fleabag, which she also created and writes. Others may know her from her supporting role in Goodbye, Christopher Robin, but Solo: A Star Wars Story is unquestionably be her biggest project yet. However, you probably won't see Waller-Bridge's face in the movie. When it was reported that Waller-Bridge was in talks to join Solo: A Star Wars Story, it was said she would be deliver a "CGI-driven performance," like what Alan Tudyk did as K-2SO in Rogue One. And now we know that she is, in fact, playing a new type of droid, L3-37, who is Lando's companion and has essentially created herself from different droid parts. Given Waller-Bridge's comedic background, it wouldn't be surprising if, like K-2SO in Rogue One, her character is the source of some of Solo: A Star Wars Story's funnier moments.
Initially, Solo: A Star Wars Story was going to feature The Wire star Michael K. Williams, and the actor completed all of his scenes during the principal photography period. However, after Ron Howard replaced Phil Lord and Chris Miller as director, the reshoots were extended, and Williams was unable to return to London due to a scheduling conflict. As a result, Williams was cut from the movie, and Paul Bettany (who previously collaborated with Howard on A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code) was cast in the role, which was changed from a "half-human, half-animal" to a full human. However, we have yet to learn how Bettany's character fits into Solo: A Star Wars Story, which the actor describes as a "gangster movie, but Vos is described in the trailer as a "big shot gangster" so it's possible he'll be an antagonist.
Other Confirmed Actors
Now that we have our main cast out of the way, here are some of the actors who have more minor roles in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Ian Kenny of Sing Street fame was one of the castings announced before principal photography began, and when Ron Howard took over as director, he revealed that Clint Howard (his brother) and Warwick Davis will appear in the movie. Davis is best known for playing Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, but he also cameoed in The Phantom Menace, The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi, not to mention having been a host at numerous Star Wars events. Screenwriter Jon Kasdan and first assistant director Toby Hefferman will also cameo as Tag and Bink, a pair of Imperial officers who appeared in Dark Horse Comics stories from the Expanded Universe era. In addition, actor/director Jon Favreau is voicing a tough little alien named Rio Durant who's been described as being and important and funny character in the film.
Other Possible Characters
With at least two major characters within the Star Wars universe being recast, it's entirely possible that others could be joining them. Possibilities include:
Jabba the Hutt - We know that Han Solo owes Jabba money at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope. While the new movie will likely take place far too early to see this particular encounter, who's to say that was the only time Han ever worked for Jabba? Gangsters are usually good for elicit money on a regular basis.
Greedo - Did you ever get the distinct impression that there was more going on between Greedo and Han? These two have a history, right? Sure enough, the book From a Certain Point of View pulled the curtain back a little bit on why Greedo hates Han, but maybe we'll learn more about their dynamic in the new film.
Maz Kanata - We know that Maz has lived for a long time and knows Han and Chewie well, so this could be a great way to write in the new character's backstory without messing with any of the previous films.
Darth Vader - Solo: A Star Wars Story is set directly in the middle of the Empire's reign across the galaxy, so seeing some stormtroopers or Imperial officers would be par for the course. However, supposedly Darth Vader's armor was spotted on the film's set, so it's possible we may see the Sith Lord pop up at some point during the story.
Will There Be More Han Solo Movies?
Big things are in store for the Star Wars franchise after 2019, both trilogy-wise and with standalone movies. Besides Rian Johnson overseeing a new trilogy separate from the Skywalker saga, another "Story" film has been officially announced for 2020, but its subject is still unknown, though an Obi-Wan Kenobi adventure and a tale centered on Boba Fett are some of the potential candidates. Disney execs have also stated they plan to release one Star Wars movie per year for the foreseeable future. While nothing is official, the word is that Alden Ehrenreich's contract with Lucasfilm is actually for three films, not just one, so, if true, it would seem that they see more in the future for the character. This could mean making him part of a future ensemble or turning the Han Solo movie into a series in its own right. Time will tell.