“It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task.“―Kathleen Kennedy
As the first Star Wars standalone story, Rogue One, continues its box-office domination, the second is about to get underway. The Untiled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film (IMDb) will start to shoot in January or early February.
According to StarWarsWikia, the film is centered on a young Han Solo, portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich, as he becomes the smuggler audiences first met in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. It also features Chewbacca in what has been described as an “origin story” for the two characters. Yesterday, Disney announced that actor Woody Harrelson had joined the cast of the upcoming movie. Now Empire Magazine in its February issue is bringing a first look into what will be the next standalone Star Wars film. So with a 25 May 2018 release date (and 41 years to the day since we first met the Corellian smuggler), this is what we know so far…
On 7 July 2015, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind the Jump Street franchise and The LEGO Movie, as directors. For all their hip, flip sensibility, they have a clear grasp of what makes Solo tick. “He is clever but smart,” Lord told Star Wars Celebration. “He doesn’t want to do anything that he’s told, and if he’s told not to do something, he only wants to do it more. He’s very sarcastic and yet unreasonably optimistic. He’s basically a cynical guy with the biggest heart in the galaxy.” Surely they think Solo shoots first.
Alden Ehrenreich, best known for a stellar turn in Hail, Ceasar! and Warren Beatty’s upcoming Rules Don’t Apply, was chosen from 300 hopefuls including established names like Dave Franco, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jack Reynor and Miles Teller. “Turns out that was a total waste of money because the person who got the part was the first person to audition, literally the first person to walk in the door,” Lord said at Star Wars Celebration. Ehrenreich was buzzed to do a chemistry test with Chewbacca – confirming the unsurprising news that the Wookie stays in the picture – and revealed, “The coolest part of that audition process was when I went on the Falcon. It was pretty unbelievable.”
Lando Calrissian, Han’s old buddy, will be played by modern renaissance man Donald Glover, best known for Community, his self-penned show Atlanta and his musical alter-egos Childish Gambino and mcDJ. As seems compulsory these days for any actor joining a franchise, Glover was childhood fan – his first action figure was a Lando – and he has been read the riot act by his mother: “Don’t mess it up!” Lord and Miller seem confident. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations,” the pair said in a typically dry press release. Completing the central triangle (or square, if you include Chewie) is Emilia Clarke as a yet-to-be-named character. With Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys and now Star Wars, Clarke is cycling through sci-fi/fantasy franchises like a demented Warwick Davis.
Empire Magazine’s promo art by James Carey for the Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film showing Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and Emilia Clarke as yet-to-be-named character.
“This moves closer to a heist or Western-type feel,” Kennedy told Variety recently, playing squarely into the character’s roguish smuggler’s wheelhouse. Co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, working with son Jon, is a huge student of Westerns, with a particular penchant for The Magnificent Seven‘s Steve McQueen: the character will likely be imbued with McQueen’s trademark swagger and poise. Expect meeting Chewie, winning of dice game sabacc, and an intro for Boba Fett (another potential standalone) to figure.
Kathleen Kannedy recently revealed a key visual source for the film. “We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colours that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel for the film.” Arrival cinematographer Bradford Young will be behind the camera and is already talking up Lord and Miller’s visual brio. “It’s gonna feel like a Star Wars film, but we’re definitely gonna break some rules, and we’re encouraged to do that.” Solo wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film is scheduled to hit the theaters on 25 May 2018.