Why Paul Bettany’s Solo: A Star Wars Story Character Has Those Face Markings

Paul Bettany in Solo: A Star Wars Story

The Star Wars franchise is an interesting one. Because it's so beloved and shared over entire generations of moviegoers, the pressure is on to deliver a satisfying final product. Solo: A Star Wars Story ran into some roadblocks on the way to the theaters, especially when Lucasfilm fired co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller midway through filming. Reshoots made original villain Michael K. Williams unable to film, with Paul Bettany stepping in to play Dryden Vos. Bettany's version of the character had fascinating facial scars, which changed depending on his mood. Director Ron Howard recently revealed it was the actor's performance that inspired the visual effects, saying:

The idea that the facial striations would intensify and diminish depending on his mood came after the [shoot] because Paul's performance was so mercurial and interesting in the way he would flare up and then be charming. That was suggested a little bit in the script, but mostly generated out of Paul's creativity. He was also so handsome and charismatic that we wanted to make him a little scarier, and actually went back and added the scene where you can see him hands-on killing a governor [...] He's like one of those animals that changes colors and can't help it, like a mood stone.

Well, this is awesome. Rather than going into filming knowing how Dryden Vos was going to look, Paul Bettany's performance ultimately informed Ron Howard while on set. Vos' facial scars are one of the interesting aspects of the character, and helped to bring something new to the intergalactic mob boss.

Ron Howard's comments to Empire show how the director was really thinking on the fly while working on Solo. Howard was brought in by Lucasfilm after original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were fired from the project halfway through filming. As such, he had to snap into game mode and finish the project, while also attempting to make the necessary changes to please the powers that be. Ultimately Solo arrived on time, and provided a fun adventure that expanded the backstory of the franchise's original heroes.

When Michael K. Williams was set to play Dryden Vos, the character was going to look quite different. Williams was using motion capture, and through the magic of CGI would be transformed into some sort of feline alien. Unfortunately, the Boardwalk Empire actor didn't have availability for the reshoots, and the role had to be recast. While Paul Bettany did a great job as Vos, fans are no doubt going to be left wondering what the character was originally going to look like. Fingers crossed for answers in Solo's upcoming home release.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is still in theaters now, complete with Dryden Vos's facial scars. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.