Woody Harrelson, who portrays Han Solo's mentor Beckett in Lucasfilm's young Han Solo spinoff movie, has offered some details about the film's tone, saying it should be funnier than other franchise installments. Since A New Hope first premiered in 1977, Star Wars has by and large been a space opera, invoking a sense of adventure in the audience. One of the selling points of the anthology entries, however, is that they have the ability to play around with tone and genre, offering audiences a different kind of experience in a galaxy far, far away. For example, Rogue One was sold as a gritty war drama, illustrating the desperation of the Rebellion against the Empire.
Since Han Solo has always been one of the more humorous Star Wars characters thanks to his dry wit, the expectation is that a standalone film covering his youth would be defined by comedic sensibilities. That certainly seemed to be the case when Phil Lord and Chris Miller were initially hired for the job, but even with Oscar-winner Ron Howard replacing the duo, laughs should be had. Harrelson certainly feels that's the case, citing star Alden Ehrenreich's performance as the smuggler.
In an interview with ET, Harrelson praised the actor following Harrison Ford's footsteps, revealing how Ehrenreich's turn could make Han Solo stand out when it's inevitably compared to what's come before:
"He's a great actor and a great guy, [with a] great sense of humor. I think a lot of humor comes through what he's doing. I think it could be one of the funnier Star Wars movies."
Some might find these comments ironic, considering Han Solo allegedly being too comedic was one of the catalysts for Lord and Miller's firing. That said, the problems seemed to stem from the filmmakers relying more on their trademark improvisational style, frequently going off the script written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon. Kasdan is a veteran of the Star Wars series, having penned The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. All three of those struck a nice balance between drama and humor, so it's safe to assume Han Solo can as well. Levity was probably always part of the plan, and few know better than Kasdan (who handpicked Han Solo for himself) how to convey comedy in the Star Wars universe.
But until Lucasfilm starts unveiling some advertising materials, it will be difficult for fans to get a read on the project and its prospects. For now, quotes like the one above from Harrelson will have to do. Viewers can take solace in the fact that things seem to be running smoothly now that Howard is at the helm, with social media updates from the cast and crew hinting at a jovial set where people are grateful for the opportunity. Star Wars is no stranger to troubled productions, so hopefully Han Solo's woes are an afterthought once the movie finally comes out.
- 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