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Han Solo movie: News, trailers, and everything we know so far

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Update: We added news of a major directorial shakeup as a result of creative differences.

Han Solo, everyone’s favorite shoot-first smuggler and all-around rogue, is getting his very own movie in 2018. It will explore his life in the years leading up to his fateful encounter with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a Mos Eisley cantina.

The still-untitled film is the second “anthology” movie planned for the sci-fi franchise, following 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Originally set to be directed by The Lego Movie filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the movie features Hail, Caesar! and Beautiful Creatures actor Alden Ehrenreich in the role of a young Han Solo, and will chronicle the character’s early adventures and the origins of his friendship with Chewbacca, his Wookiee co-pilot and partner.

While we’re still waiting on an official title for the film, the young Han Solo movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters May 25, 2018. Here’s everything we know about the Han Solo movie so far:

Lord and Miller depart

Less than a year out from the movie’s May 2018 release date, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have exited the as-yet-untitled Star Wars spinoff chronicling the exploits of the young Han Solo. The movie is still filming at Pinewood Studios in London, and will be for several more weeks, with reshoots already planned for later this summer.

Lord and Miller rose to fame with the 2009 animated movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and became firmly established with subsequent box office successes 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie. The pair have a distinctive style and a knack for comedy that breaks the fourth wall, which ultimately may have contributed to their departure from the Han Solo movie.

Statements from both the directorial duo and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy cited creative differences as the reason behind the decision. Lord and Miller apparently clashed with the sensibilities of screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, according to an account from The Hollywood Reporter.

Now, the search is on for a new director, with Kennedy stating that a decision will be made sooner rather than later. Ron Howard is currently one of the top picks to take on the project, per a report from Deadline.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the production of a Star Wars spinoff has run into trouble at the 11th hour. Last year’s Rogue One underwent significant reshoots, and turned out to be well received by critics and fans alike. This personnel change doesn’t necessarily spell doom for the movie — although it’s certainly disappointing for fans of Lord and Miller’s previous output.

Two characters revealed?

Character details from the upcoming film have been in short supply, but the die-hard detectives of MakingStarWars.net have been hard at work trying to uncover more. (Warning: possible spoilers ahead!) The website’s sources have revealed that there is a new character named Mother Proxima in the young Han Solo movie, likely portrayed by a puppet. Dave Chapman, the man behind the droid BB-8, is reportedly operating the character, and it is possible that Mother Proxima will be voiced by one of the other cast members.

The website also caught wind of a female character named Val and speculates that she’ll be played by Emilia Clarke. The reasoning behind the suspicion is that Val is said to have “top billing.” However, the film’s cast has other actresses equally worthy of top billing, including Thandie Newton, so it’s too early to say.

Nothing is confirmed yet for either possible character, of course, so don’t start writing Mother Proxima or Val fanfic yet.

‘It will be weird’

Seeing someone else in the iconic role of Han Solo is going to be strange for us all, but that’s probably truer for Harrison Ford than anyone. The actor admitted during an interview for “The Star Wars Show” that “it will be weird” to have someone else fill his shoes. That said, he confirmed that he plans to watch the film and approves of Ehrenreich’s casting.

“I’ve met the fella who’s gonna play the younger Han Solo,” he said, according to Metro. “Wonderful guy, very sweet, and a very good actor.”

Ford added that he’s “delighted in the choice.”

The younger actor scored the role against stiff competition, possibly including former One Direction member Harry Styles, according to reports in April. The now-solo artist’s name came up as an early contender, and when asked about the rumors on The Graham Norton Show, his denial didn’t come across as the most convincing.

Their lips are sealed

Don’t expect the cast to reveal secrets about the film anytime soon. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, whose role in the film was confirmed last fall, recently indicated to the Los Angeles Daily News that they’re under strict instructions to keep the mystery alive. She shared that she can’t even let slip details about who her character is.

“I genuinely can’t tell you anything other than Alden is magnificent, and it’s a delight to do something on that level with really cool actors and nice people,” the actress said.

The project is so hush-hush that Clarke describes it as “even scarier” to talk about than Game of Thrones — and that’s really saying something. It sounds like they’re going to leave us in the dark as long as they possibly can. Get used to being curious.

What’s in a name?

Disney CEO Bob Iger offered up a major revelation about the famous smuggler during a speaking event at the University of Southern California in mid-March 2017. While discussing the upcoming film — still without an official title at that point — Iger said the film will explore some key moments in Han’s life, “like acquiring a certain vehicle and meeting a certain Wookiee.”

“But you’ll also discover how he got his name,” he added.

Anyone who’s been following updates on the film was likely well aware that it would cover Han’s first meeting with Chewbacca, the Wookiee that would become his copilot and best friend, as well as the way in which he acquired his iconic starship, the Millennium Falcon. However, the suggestion that “Han Solo” isn’t the character’s original name is something entirely new for Star Wars fans to ponder — and has created a new wave of speculation regarding what this means for the character.

According to The Guardian, Iger also indicated that the film will span approximately six years of Han’s early life. The film reportedly “picks up when he was 18 years old and takes him through to when he was 24.”

A mentor reveals himself

When news broke that Woody Harrelson had joined the project, it was rumored that his character would serve as a mentor to the young Han, with some reports stating that his character was named Garris Shrike. The actor has since dropped a few breadcrumbs for hungry fans, indicating that the early intel wasn’t totally correct. While his character will indeed be an important mentor figure for Han, the older man is actually named Beckett.

“I play a guy named Beckett, who’s kind of a criminal and a mentor to Han,” he told Jimmy Fallon during a March 22 appearance on The Tonight Show.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t just the start of several intriguing reveals — that was it. The cast remains tight-lipped about the project, so we’re lucky Harrelson gave up even that much.

Cast and cameras rolling

Disney and Lucasfilm commemorated the start of filming on the movie February 21 with the first photo of the featured cast gathered together.


The Star Wars saga has a long history of introducing compelling characters created with practical effects and through a combination of performance-capture technology and digital effects, such as with actress Lupita Nyong’o bringing the alien Maz Kanata to the screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens through the latter method. The story of Han Solo’s early years will apparently continue that trend with yet another computer-generated character in a key role.

According to VarietyFleabag actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge has joined the cast of the film in an unidentified role that will reportedly play a “significant role” in the story. Described as “a CGI-driven performance,” the outlet compares Waller-Bridge’s mystery role to that of Alan Tudyk’s part in the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as the android K-2SO.

Best known for her acclaimed Amazon Studios series Fleabag, which she created and stars in, Waller-Bridge earned several Critics Choice Award nominations for the series and her performance in it.

The first shot

Everyone knows that Han Solo shot first in the cantina, but co-director Chris Miller commemorated taking the first shot of the upcoming film on January 30, 2017, with an image he posted on Twitter.

As the photo indicates, the working title for the movie is “Star Wars: Red Cup” — likely a reference to the popular “Solo” brand of red, plastic party cups. Naturally, that hasn’t stopped some fans from speculating that there could be a more complicated, secret meaning to the film’s working title.Casting an actor to play one of the most iconic Hollywood heroes of all time was no easy task, and the list of contenders for the role was reportedly narrowed down to three actors back in March 2016: Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!), Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction), and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Prior to that report, the list of actors considered for the role also included Whiplash star Miles Teller and The Fault in Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort, among others.

After months of speculation, Ehrenreich was finally confirmed for the role in July 2016, with the announcement made during the Star Wars Celebration convention in London.

Laugh it up, fuzzball

No story about Han Solo is complete without acknowledging his Wookiee pal, Chewbacca, and the movie is expected to offer more insight on the pair’s friendship and partnership over the years. Few details have emerged about where the film will take Han and “Chewie” during their early adventures, but it’s expected that fans will finally learn the truth about why the pair have such a strong loyalty to each other.

There’s still some uncertainty about who will be under the furry costume when cameras begin rolling, as veteran Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew might reprise the role in some form (as he’s done for every film in which Chewbacca appeared). However, it’s more likely that actor Joonas Suotamo — who served as Mayhew’s body double in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens — will take on the majority of on-screen duties.

He’s going to kill her or begin to like her

Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa are one of the big screen’s most memorable couples, but the future Rebel leader from Alderaan certainly wasn’t the only lady to love — or hate — the famous scoundrel.

There are still quite a few mysteries surrounding the studio’s casting for the film’s female lead. Back in October 2016, three actresses were reported to be in the running for the coveted, but unidentified role as the film’s featured actress. The trio included Selma and Creed actress Tessa Thompson (pictured above), Power Rangers and Terra Nova actress Naomi Scott, and X-Men: First Class and Mad Max: Fury Road actress Zoe Kravitz.

Although there wasn’t any indication of the role the actresses were vying for, widespread speculation suggested the role was that of Sana Starros, another smuggler introduced in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars comic book series who has crossed paths with Han and often ended up on the wrong side of deals with him.

The story took an interesting turn a month later, though, when Game off Thrones actress Emilia Clarke was officially confirmed for an unidentified role in the film.

It remains uncertain whether she landed the role that the three aforementioned actresses were vying for, or if Clarke’s character plays a different part in the film.

One sweet cape

Along with chronicling the early years of Han Solo and his Wookiee pal Chewbacca, the film will also feature another famous — or perhaps infamous — rogue from the Star Wars universe: Lando Calrissian.

After rumors began circulating that Han’s former gambling buddy and predecessor as the pilot of the Millennium Falcon would have a role in the movie, Community and Atlanta actor Donald Glover was almost immediately reported as the leading contender for the role.

Casting was confirmed in October 2016 by Lucasfilm, which announced that Glover would indeed play a young Lando Calrissian opposite Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo, taking on the role that Billy Dee Williams originated in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

As usual, the studio offered few hints about the context of the characters’ meeting in the movie, but did indicate that Lando would be portrayed “in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld — years before the events involving Han, Leia, and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and his rise to Rebel hero in Return of the Jedi.”

In the official casting announcement, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also confirmed that Lando’s iconic cape would appear in the film — and that it fit Glover perfectly.

Stay tuned, as we’ll be updating this post often with the latest news from the set of the film as it approaches release.

This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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