Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo filmed Han Solo and Chewbacca's first encounter for three weeks with Solo: A Star Wars Story's original helmers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. As the second of the Star Wars anthology movies following 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the prequel spinoff established the origin story of the scruffy-looking nerf herder first played and popularized by Harrison Ford. Sadly, the movie didn't do well at the box office which prompted Lucasfilm to put other future Star Wars anthology movies on hold.
It's no secret that the production process for Solo had been tumultuous with last-minute director switches, followed by extensive reshoots. Weeks before principal photography should have wrapped up, Lord and Miller were let go from their directing gig and were eventually replaced by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard. Considering this, many have been trying to decipher which shots from the film were from the original directors and which ones were from reshoots. Now, fans know one specific part of the movie that was entirely shot by Lord and Miller.
During the "Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable" bonus feature from Solo's Blu-ray, Ehrenreich talked about filming his first scene, which was Han and Chewbacca's first meeting. The entire sequence was so complex that it took them three weeks to film.
"It took three weeks to shoot. ...It was three weeks, it was the first thing we shot. And it was very muddy. I mean, what was great about it is, because that was the first thing we were going to do in pre-shoots, is that we had to work out all the fight choreography. So, Joonas and I got to spend a month working, and both doing the stunt training generally, but working through that fight choreography, and it was a great opportunity for us to really get comfortable with each other, get to know each other, joke around, and Joonas is so funny. Starting with that kind of core thing that obviously lasts throughout the rest of Han's life was kind of a special thing."
Han and Chewie's initial meeting was among the most important parts of the narrative the movie had to get right, and, fortunately, all the time and effort devoted to filming that whole sequence paid off. It established the duo's banter and dynamic from the get-go, which remained the same throughout their future adventures. Solo sold the idea that their chance encounter resulted in decades of strong friendship and camaraderie until Han's death at the hands of his own son, Ben (Adam Driver), in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Admittedly, people were skeptical of the idea of making an origin story for Han, because of the risk that whatever new narrative Lucasfilm decided to add to the character's history would have negatively affected his legacy. While not everyone was a fan of what Solo: A Star Wars Story revealed, with regard to everyone's favorite galactic smuggler, Han and Chewie's meeting was an element in the movie that people generally liked. To learn that it was shot entirely by Lord & Miller may reignite some fans' interest in knowing what the two were planning to do before they were booted out of the job.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now available on digital HD. It releases on DVD/Blu-ray on September 25.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019