Alden Ehrenreich, star of the troubled young Han Solo spinoff movie, was not delivering a performance up to Lucasfilm's standards, leading the studio to hire an acting coach late into production. Out of all the new Star Wars films coming out in the Disney era, Han Solo was the one many fans were most skeptical of. Over the course of four movies, Harrison Ford perfectly embodied the smuggler and became synonymous with the character. The actor's performance is a key reason why Han Solo is one of the most beloved figures in Star Wars lore, making it a daunting task for anyone to fill his footsteps. That was the biggest hurdle facing the project. Harrison Ford is Han Solo.
Still, Ehrenreich, the talented standout of Hail, Caesar!, was up for the task, enduring a grueling audition process that saw no less than 2,500 thespians try out for the role. Surrounded by a top-notch supporting cast including Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover, Ehrenreich seemed well-positioned to carry Han Solo on his shoulders and add to the Star Wars legacy. However, the latest reports indicate the studio higher-ups weren't all that pleased about what they saw in the footage and decided to take drastic measures in order to fix what was going wrong.
The latest domino to fall comes courtesy of THR, who mentioned in their write-up on the problems that plagued Han Solo from the start that Lucasfilm hired an acting coach to help Ehrenreich late in production in order to get a better performance out of the youngster. The outlet notes that it is not unusual for a coach to be brought onboard during a movie, but the timing of this particular instance (like so much with Han Solo) is indeed out of the ordinary. Being the lead of a Star Wars film is no easy task, though unlike Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones - who were able to craft original characters - Ehrenreich is under the microscope as the new Han. He has to strike the tricky balance between making Solo his own while also honoring what came before with Ford. No matter how strong one's abilities are, that's a daunting proposition.
Hearing that there were concerns with not just the directors, but also the main actor, will likely do very little to calm nerves about the Han Solo fiasco. Still, there are some things to keep in mind. It's noted Lucasfilm was "not entirely satisfied" with Ehrenreich's interpretation, meaning there could be some aspects the studio does like. Additionally, it's encouraging to see Lucasfilm willing to go the extra mile in an effort to course-correct. They understand better than anybody how important it is to get Han Solo "right" in this movie, so they'll do whatever it takes to get what they want. Whether the ends justify the means is an entirely different debate, but if Ehrenreich wasn't delivering the desired results, getting an acting coach sounds like a reasonable decision. And with Ron Howard overseeing the rest of shooting, hopefully these issues are past the filmmakers.
Lucasfilm obviously has to do a great deal of Han Solo damage control in the coming months in order to clear the air and paint a better picture of what's going on. It'll be interesting to see if the spinoff has any kind of presence at July's D23 expo (as was initially expected), where some footage could possibly debut. Now more than ever would be a great time to give audiences their first taste of Ehrenreich's Han so they have a greater idea of what's in store and can actually see him in action. A couple of well-cut clips with young Han and Chewie could go a long way in changing the tune.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019