Woody Harrelson will be guiding Alden Ehrenreich as the young smuggler in Han Solo and will be a complicated mentor. The idea of a Han Solo prequel has yet to be completely embraced by fans as some like the mystery behind Harrison Ford's version, but that is not stopping Lucasfilm from moving forward with the idea. The hesitation may be partially responsible for Lucasfilm assembling an impressive cast around the new Han and bringing in Phil Lord and Chris Miller to direct.
One of the biggest things in Han Solo that will open up his backstory is the inclusion of Harrelson as Beckett, the mentor to Han. After his casting, Harrelson was thought to have let his character's identity slip and connected him to the expanded universe lore. The initial Garris Shrike rumblings pointed to a hardened mentor for Han, but Harrelson says that won't be the case.
While speaking with The Independent, Harrelson was asked about his excitement for being in Han Solo and playing the mentor role. Like all actors joining a major franchise like Star Wars, the secrecy has been a major point of emphasis. However, he was still able to tease what makes Beckett an interesting character to play:
"I am totally psyched to be making a Star Wars film. But the secrecy is on another level. What I can say he’s a good character, he is a mentor to Han and a criminal, but good at heart."
This clearly shows a renewed effort to change up any origin stories that longtime fans of the expanded universe may know. While Beckett could follow some beats, he is not going to be exactly like Shrike and ultimately be somebody who Han finds himself working against. The criminal nature just goes to show that he may be partially responsible for Han's troubled tendencies as a lifetime smuggler, but may also be the influence behind his good intentions throughout it all.
Harrelson has shown time and time again his ability to transform into whatever character the role requires and had other mentor type roles before. Whether it is as a pure hearted drunk in The Hunger Games, a Twinkie loving zombie killer in Zombieland, or dealing with a rebellious teenage girl in The Edge of Seventeen, Harrelson is able to embody these archetypes perfectly. There is little reason to doubt he will can pull off a similar role in Han Solo and provide a great dynamic with Han, Chewbacca, and others.
Source: The Independent
- 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