This year sees the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII, but the eighth chapter in the Skywalker saga isn’t the only franchise installment that will make headlines in 2017. In just about a month (as of this writing), Phil Lord and Chris Miller will begin principal photography on their young Han Solo spinoff, which is the second Star Wars anthology film. The cast is rounding into shape, as new scruffy-looking nerf herder Alden Ehrenreich will be joined by talent such as Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and perhaps Woody Harrelson.
Glover will play a young Lando Calrissian in the film, which is undoubtedly an exciting opportunity for him. Growing up, Glover owned a Lando action figure, and now he’ll be responsible for bringing the character to life. The actor has previously discussed his approach to the role, and now he’s opened up more about his involvement in a galaxy far, far away.
Speaking with Variety on the Golden Globes red carpet, Glover shared his initial reaction to being cast, revealing how special it is to him:
“I was kinda shocked… I think I was kind of precious about it because, yeah, somebody has to do it. I’m super honored to have it.”
Given Glover’s personal connection to both the Star Wars series and Lando, it’s no surprise that he feels this way. Though Ehrenreich has the more difficult task of following Harrison Ford’s footsteps, it won’t be easy for Glover to break free of Billy Dee Williams’ shadow. In The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Williams made the part his own with a sense of suave charisma, and it’s up to Glover to translate that coolness while also putting his own spin on it. Fortunately, Glover seems to be aware of the challenges that await the Han Solo team, and he’ll work hard to give it his all and do Lando justice.
The first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was designed from the get-go to be a one-off, but there’s a possibility Han Solo is different. Shortly after Ehrenreich’s casting was made official, rumors stated that he signed a three picture contract with Lucasfilm, but nothing official has been announced on that front yet. If there are plans to make Han Solo sequels, Glover claims to be unaware, telling Variety, “I have no idea, but if I did know, I probably couldn’t say.” He later stated that it will most likely depend on the response to Lord and Miller’s film, which makes sense. Disney has yet to reveal their post-Episode IX plans, and the third anthology film could be anything from a Boba Fett movie to a story centered around Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Regardless of how many Han Solo movies are ultimately made, there’s a lot of potential for this one to be a strong, entertaining original trilogy supplement in the way Rogue One was. Not only will new details about Han’s life be revealed (such as the origins of his friendship with Chewbacca and a relationship with a mentor figure), but we’ll get to see two scoundrels interact in their youth, which will ideally add layers to certain scenes in Empire. Rogue One showed how these spinoffs can flesh out the canon, so many are now curious to see how Han Solo will follow suit. Time will tell, but the studio appears to be on the right track.