With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story still doing boffo box office weeks into its run, Disney and co. must be very excited about the prospects of future Star Wars spinoffs also making huge bank. One project Disney should be especially enthusiastic about is the untitled Han Solo Star Wars anthology movie planned for release in 2018. The movie will feature several of the series’ most iconic characters, and its most iconic piece of hardware the Millennium Falcon, so clearly it is already ahead-of-the-game when it comes to exciting the fans.
The Han Solo standalone movie may not have a title yet, but it has cast its young Han, its young Lando Calrissian, its female lead and is working on locking in an actor to play Han Solo’s mentor (after considering another very well-known actor). Now rumors are trickling out about where the movie will film, and these reports may give us some (very limited) sense of what the movie might look and feel like.
Spanish-language site El Blog de Cine Espanol reports (via Star Wars News Net) that the Han Solo movie will shoot partly on the Spanish island Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands group off the coast of Africa. El Blog de Cine Espanol also names Italy as a shooting location, but isn’t able to get more specific than that.
Shooting in the Canary Islands continues the trend of Star Wars movies being made in very out-of-the-way locales that began when George Lucas set up shop in the remote deserts of Tunisia for A New Hope, and continued when J.J. Abrams and company chose Skellig Michael as Luke Skywalker’s lonely refuge in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the upcoming Star Wars 8. Rogue One went the exotic route as well, shooting most of its Scarif-based scenes in the Maldives. Shooting in these real-life locations grounds these otherwise fantasy-based movies in a sense of reality, or at least that’s the idea.
Among the things that Fuerteventura boasts are some pretty spectacular lavascapes and volcanic mountains, which sounds like a perfect place to film a Star Wars movie. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy says the Han Solo anthology film will be like a “heist or Western” movie, and the descriptions of Fuerteventura’s bleak, volcanic setting surely suggests that the movie’s look will skew toward the Western side. Han Solo always was kind of a Western gunslinger in science fiction guise, so it would be appropriate to place him in a setting that evokes the Old West.
Besides the availability of gorgeous and exotic vistas, the other advantage to filming in a place like Fuerteventura, which features a lot of protected areas that tourists are not able to easily access, is that it reduces the chances of snoops taking any pictures of the production and leaking them to the Internet. In this day-and-age it’s becoming very difficult to prevent dedicated fans from staking out shooting locales and getting images of things the producers would just as soon not get out there, so you can understand Disney’s desire to shoot key scenes as far away from other human beings as possible.