The Star Wars franchise is one of the biggest properties in the world, which means secrecy is vital in the development of the films. That was definitely the case with Solo: A Star Wars Story, and it sounds like the audition process that got Alden Ehrenreich the highly-coveted role was pretty intense. In fact, the actor recently spoke out about the process of becoming Han Solo during his audition, and admitted that he was forced to read alongside a dog puppet. The 28-year-old actor explained:
They have to be really secretive about Star Wars, so they can't say 'Oh, this is a scene with you and Chewbacca,' and you have like a fake name. Like, my fake name was Mike, and then they had me do a scene where I'm talking to a dog, and they had like a dog puppet in the audition, and then like a little dog sound effect. So you'd talk and do the scene, and then they'd like hit a button and it would go like 'rawr,' and it was a puppet. But the puppet was good. The puppet was pretty good.
That doesn't sound like the most authentic Star Wars experience to get Alden Ehrenreich ready to play Han Solo, but it makes plenty of sense. The folks behind Solo: A Star Wars Story needed to keep everything related to the film a secret, which meant not revealing anything about the nature of the scenes, the character designs, or the overarching story. To hammer that idea home, the Hail, Caesar! auditioned with a dog puppet to stand in for Chewie, and according to the actor's remarks to BBC Radio 1: the doll apparently did a pretty good job.
This is not the first time that we have learned details about the rigorous and bizarre process that eventually led to the casting of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo. In fact, back when Phil Lord and Chris Miller were attached to Solo: A Star Wars Story as the film's directors, Miller spoke out about the process and compared it to an athletic event. Miller explained:
That guy pretty much went through an audition pentathlon; it was like an acting steeplechase. He went against a lot of very strong competitors and was very consistently the guy, from minute one. He was the first person who auditioned out of thousands, and just out of the box, made you believe that someday he'd grow into the character we know.