After a rocky production and plenty of expensive reshoots, Solo: A Star Wars Story is preparing for a record-breaking opening weekend. The second Star Wars anthology film, Solo explores the early years of Han Solo, the smuggler-turned-Rebel-hero. The film also marks the first spin-off film to center on a major character, although Disney and Lucasfilm are rumored to be producing an Obi-Wan Kenobi film.
Just because it's about Han, however, doesn't mean this is a one-man show. He's accompanied by a wide range of characters, some familiar - we see how he met Chewbacca and Lando - and some new who nevertheless have an important impact on the character.
There's a lot of actors in the film as a result. Here's a quick cheat-sheet to keep track of the cast and characters of Solo, from the old and familiar to the new and mysterious:
Returning Star Wars Characters in Solo
Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo - Alden Ehrenreich endured a grueling audition process for the coveted role of Han Solo, getting the part over every other dashing young man in Hollywood. The actor previously appeared in the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! alongside George Clooney, Josh Brolin, and Ralph Fiennes. Ehrenreich does not simply try to imitate Harrison Ford's classic character, instead creating an individual version of Han. In Solo, the iconic character is in his early twenties, and the events of the film help to shape him into the character that audiences see in A New Hope.
Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian - Before landing the role of Lando Calrissian, Donald Glover was known for his roles on Community and Atlanta (as a writer, actor, and director), and as a rapper, under the moniker of Childish Gambino. Glover enjoyed imagining how the younger version of Lando would think, and has also tried to separate the character from Billy Dee Williams' portrayal. Recently, Glover also confirmed that the young Calrissian is pansexual, saying: "How can you not be pansexual in space?"
Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca - At 6'11". Joonas Suotamo began taking over the role of Chewbacca when he played the role alongside Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens, and had his first single credit in The Last Jedi. In Solo, Suotamo plays a younger version of the Wookiee (even if he's 190 years old). The film includes Han Solo meeting Chewbacca, and highlights how their lifelong bond was born.
New Characters in Solo
Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra - Emilia Clarke has appeared as Daenerys in Game of Thrones and Sarah Connor in Terminator: Genisys. She plays Qi'ra, who, like Han, is a poor street kid from Corellia. Unlike her childhood love, she's stayed in a life of crime.
Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett - Beckett puts together a team of criminals for a heist, enlisting Han as a hand for his illegal operations. Harrelson has appeared in everything from the critically-acclaimed first season of True Detective to The Hunger Games films and Natural Born Killers. It was only a matter of time that Harrelson would lend his talents to Star Wars, and he fits the galaxy far, far away surprisingly well.
Thandie Newton as Val - Westworld's Thandie Newton will play Val, a tough and cool sharpshooter who is one of the core members of Beckett's crew. Newton has said that she is proud to be one of the first women of color with a major role in Star Wars.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37 - Phoebe Waller-Bridge, best known for the dramedy Fleabag, voices L3-37, a droid who works with Lando Calrissian as a navigator. L3-37 is built from assembled droid and astromech parts, and is a passionate advocate for droid rights.
Jon Favreau as Rio Durant - Jon Favreau voices Rio Durant, an Ardennian pilot who works for Beckett. Favreau has previously appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the Mandalorian Pre Vizsla. Favreau is writing and directing an upcoming Star Wars live-action television show.
Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos - Dryden Vos is an intergalactic gangster and the leader of the Crimson Dawn crime organization. The role of Dryden Vos was originally going to be played by Michael K. Williams, but after scheduling conflicts stopped Williams from being able to reshoot his scenes, Bettany texted director Ron Howard asking if there was a role available in Solo. Apparently, the visions for Williams and Bettany's versions of the character are markedly different.
Enfys Nest - Although Enfys Nest, a helmeted Solo villain, appeared in multiple trailers, Lucasfilm didn't announce the actor who plays the role before release. In kind, we won't spoil it yet either. What is known is that Enfys Nest is the ruthless leader of a group of pirates called the Cloud-Raiders.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019