It has been revealed Michael K. Williams completed filming all of his scenes in the young Han Solo spinoff movie prior to Ron Howard taking over for the fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller. This week, the actor was forced to drop out of the project because the extensive reshoots it is currently undergoing conflicted with previous commitments he had on his agenda. Not much about his mystery character was known before this development, but in the wake of Williams' departure, little bits of information have come out. The Emmy nominee was set to play a half-human, half-animal hybrid who apparently served as a link between Han and Emilia Clarke's character, Kira.
Since Williams was connective tissue tied to two of the film's leads, it sounded like he had an important role to play, and wasn't merely a side character of little significance. With the actor now off the film, some have been wondering what this means in the grand scheme of things as Han Solo continues its way through production. Many presumed reshoots would be part of the equation under Howard's watch (a situation similar to Rogue One), but it appears the overhaul might be more massive than one might have initially thought.
In the same Vanity Fair interview where Williams revealed Clarke's role as Kira, it's stated the actor had shot all of his scenes before the infamous kerfuffle took place:
Williams had already filmed all of his scenes as a new character to the universe—“a link between Han Solo and Emilia’s character, Kira”—when Lucasfilm suddenly announced in June that it was replacing directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard. The shake-up meant that Williams would need to re-shoot his scenes so that the anticipated spin-off could still meet its 2018 release date.
This is somewhat alarming, considering shortly after Lord and Miller's dismissal, it was said most of their footage was "very usable" and Disney licensees were impressed with a sizzle reel that had been cut together. Considering recent events, it's reasonable to believe that the entirety of Han Solo (or, at the very least, a sizable amount) is being reshot with Howard at the helm and Lucasfilm intends to include little (or none) of Lord and Miller's work in the final product. If Williams had wrapped, there would surely be some usable takes from the early stages of principal photography. It's possible the role has been recast since Williams is unavailable, but since all has been quiet on that front, it's more likely the script was retooled so the character was no longer necessary for the story.
With this in mind, it makes sense why Lucasfilm barely mentioned Han Solo during their presentation at July's D23 expo. The studio may not know what they have on their hands yet, and they want to wait until Howard is finished before starting up promotion. Rogue One found itself in hot water when several of the trailer shots didn't appear in the film, and the filmmakers would probably like to avoid that again. Fortunately, The Last Jedi is right around the corner to keep fans excited, but soon Lucasfilm will have to pull back the curtain on Han Solo and hope for the best.
Source: Vanity Fair
- 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