Though Michael K. Williams was unfortunately replaced on Solo: A Star Wars Story, he remains proud of the work he did during his time on-set. Back when Phil Lord and Chris Miller were helming the spinoff, the actor was cast as crime boss Dryden Vos - which Williams described as a human/alien hybrid. However, Williams was unable to come back for extensive reshoots under Ron Howard's watch following the now-infamous director snafu. He had a scheduling conflict due to his commitment to The Red Sea Diving Resort. As a result, Paul Bettany came in on short notice to play Vos, and the character was retooled to be a human.
Considering Williams had shot all of his scenes prior to the change, this development had to have been quite frustrating for him. To be in a Star Wars movie is an opportunity many actors dream of and cherish, and Williams' contributions to the franchise's legacy are now buried in the Lucasfilm vault, unlikely to ever be seen. Williams can certainly sympathize with fans upset about the way things turned out.
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In an interview on EW Morning Live, Williams was asked about his experience on Solo. Being the good sport he is, Williams laughed about it and chalked it up to the insanity of the film business. He then talked about the work he did with his fellow co-stars:
"What saddens me most is I was very proud of the work that I did. What I believe I have created with Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson and Alden [Ehrenreich, who plays Solo]… I thought it was some great work. We was on the spaceship, and we all had these amazing scenes together, and I thought it was a great opportunity, and I thought it was some great stuff. It’s unfortunate the world won’t get to see it.”
Details about Solo are largely being kept under wraps, but we do know Dryden is a well-off kingpin at the top of the underworld's hierarchy. If Williams was doing scenes with Ehrenreich, Clarke, and Harrelson, it's likely Vos is the one who bankrolls Tobias Beckett's (Harrelson) elaborate heist to rob the train-like vehicle, the Conveyex. Beckett, based on Long John Silver, is a career criminal down on his luck and desperate for a score. Dryden sounds like the type of person he would want to impress in an effort to move up the ladder. It was also reported Vos serves as a link between Han and Clarke's Qi'ra, so he should factor heavily into the story. With Howard reshooting nearly all of Solo, it makes sense why the part had to be recast.
The silver lining here is that the split was amicable, with Williams saying he had "a very good taste in my mouth" following filming. There are plenty of other Star Wars films coming through the pipeline, so hopefully Lucasfilm can find a spot for him in either Rian Johnson's new trilogy or the series developed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Williams is a talent any franchise would be lucky to have - even if it was just for a single movie.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019