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Lawrence & Jon Kasdan Interview - Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lawrence’s fourth time writing a Star Wars film. Besides Lawrence Kasdan, only George Lucas has been more influential to the Star Wars saga.  Recently, they talked about their love for the series and the things that helped inspire Solo. Screen Rant sat down with the Kasdan’s to talk about the some of the Star Wars deep cut references in Solo and the future of Lawrence Kasdan continuing on with the popular franchise.

Screen Rant: So first of all, I love this film. It's great. It's so much fun. So much fun. And it's exactly what I wanted to see with Han Solo. And Lando Calrissian is my favorite character.

Lawrence Kasdan: He's my favorite in this movie too.

Screen Rant: He's a great. Steals everything. So did you guys read any of the Legends novels or stories throughout the years and did it have any influence on the story that you told with this?

Lawrence Kasdan: I did not. But Jon knows a lot more about that than I did.  You know, I've written four of these movies. And I have not read one novel.

Screen Rant: Really? Interesting.

Jonathan Kasdan: I'm more deeply immersed in it. But I'll tell you what we did do is, you know, we're, big thing here in the Kasdan family. We're big fans of the Wookieepedia. It's a great resource. And we would have moments when we were writing where we would say, "Well what's the canon or non-canon explanation for this thing. " And then we go into Wookieepedia, the two of us sitting at the computer and we'd go down a rabbit hole about like the history of the Falcon or our favorite problem, which is the reality of where those things, guns are located, on top or bottom.

Lawrence Kasdan: And how do you get there, how you oriented when you go in there?

Jonathan Kasdan: And we'd spend two hours looking at this stuff and then we'd think like, "Well, if this is open sourced, how do we know we're not just listening, to like, some kid, from like, Iowa."

Lawrence Kasdan: And then you realize, "What difference does it make?"

Jonathan Kasdan: Exactly.

Jonathan Kasdan: So we, we use that a ton. And I have a loose familiarity with some of the stuff. And we sort of knew how to use what we, what was useful, and how to sort of keep it in the realm of what the movie we wanted to make. Which was really this sort of Michael Mann-ion crime movie.

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Screen Rant: Yeah. Fun heist movie. And, and the thing I loved is there's a point where you can't trust anyone.

Lawrence Kasdan: That's the underlying theme.

Screen Rant: I loved that. Watching this movie, I noticed there's a ton of Star Wars EU (Expanded Universe) deep cuts. Like Aurra Sing. I was like, "Wait. Did I hear that right?" Also, Kira's fighting styles mentioned-

Jonathan Kasdan: Teras Kasi. You got to buy a Game Boy to play Teras Kasi practically.

Screen Rant: Exactly.

Lawrence Kasdan: Where is it mentioned?

Jonathan Kasdan: It's a game- Where did she say it?

Lawrence Kasdan: No, where it's mentioned from?

Jonathan Kasdan: It's from a fighting style that was developed in the canon sort of. It was part of Maul's thing.

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Screen Rant: There's even a Bossk reference. So with that, whose decision was it to choose all these? Aurra Sing to me was the one that was like, oh wow, that's really interesting.

Jonathan Kasdan: You're looking at him. I was passionate about every one of those references.

Lawrence Kasdan: And Bossk is particularly interesting.

Jonathan Kasdan: I was trying to get them in the movie, you know, very hard. And I think that if there's ever another one of these, you're going to have to either kill me or Bossk will be in it.

Screen Rant: Well, I'm hoping that Bossk is in it.  I'd love to see Bossk.

Jonathan Kasdan: Me too, I'm a huge fan.

Lawrence Kasdan: I'm doing a spinoff it.

Jonathan Kasdan: All right. Well, I've rather you write it and I'll come in and fix it.

Lawrence Kasdan: Yeah, well, maybe not.

Screen Rant: Exclusive, Lawrence Kasdan is writing the Bossk-

Jonathan Kasdan: Yeah, he's writing the Bossk movie. Aurra Sing is another character that comes originally out of the prequels. She was a great bit of design. She became a total bit of cosplay fun. And I thought this is exactly the kind of person that would beef up Beckett's reputation. And one of the gifts of Star Wars, and I think it's, you know, it's true to these movies, is that you always come in with a lot of stuff having happened off screen, that you can reference. And it's, it's fun. It feels like, "What happened there?" And it happens when the first scene with Han and A New Hope. And we definitely want to keep that tradition alive.

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Screen Rant: The scene with Chewbacca, when he's freeing the other, by the way, if there's any spoilers, I'll put this out after the movie comes out.

Jonathan Kasdan: We don't care.

Screen Rant: With Chewbacca, when he frees all the other Wookiees. I freaked out a little bit because I thought, "Well, maybe Malla is in this and this ties into the Holiday Special." Can you confirm or deny that Malla was-

Jonathan Kasdan: Ever? It's not Malla. In fact that is a different character. In fact, we could tell you the name of that character. That was Sagwa. And he was always in the script. There was always a version of that character in the script. And where Chewie met him and then at what point was always sort of something that we were playing around with, but we wanted to have another major Wookiee character. And as it evolved we really wanted was to have him be, like, a little bit of a stoner. So that's why he does that thing, where he like, rubs his hair. Because he's like, we thought like in my imagination, his voice was like, "Hey, what's up dude?" He was like the Bill and Ted.

Lawrence Kasdan: I have a picture, we wrote in my app, is its picture on my wall which is from A New Hope. When Chewie's coming up from the smuggling bay and Han's already sitting on the edge and he reaches out and roughs his hair. Which has always been my, one of my favorite moments.

Screen Rant: That's amazing. Obviously with a character like Han Solo, he's a classic, fans love him. And this is like a Han Solo biopic, right? And you have to get it right. And you hit every beat to make that happen. So can you talk to me that some of the challenges that you knew you were going to face going into this?

Jonathan Kasdan: You know, I was immediately drawn to doing this and I never saw it as a challenge. It kind of goes like riches. And we could go in there and we weren't going to get them all. We didn't want to get' em all. They wanted to pick the ones that most fun for us. And then you say, "Well, I've never understood what happened exactly in the Kessel Run. How much is he lying? And what is a parsec anyway?" You know, it's not a measure of time. It's a measure of distance. And I wanted to hear the backstory. Because all my interest in Han started in the Cantina. In that tight economical brilliant scene, one of the greatest scenes ever. You get so much information, so much implication of what his history is, including shooting Greedo. That was like the font of the whole movie to me.

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Screen Rant: I completely agree with you.  Everything pays off the way, when you watch it, that imagine, how I imagined it to. So that's what I love about it. Now, Lawrence, you had said that this might be your last Star Wars film.

Lawrence Kasdan: Might be.

Jonathan Kasdan: That's for sure.

Lawrence Kasdan: Never, never say never.

Screen Rant: But Jonathan, so with you, would you want to pick up the mantle and kind of do more Solo films or would you even be interested in doing a Lando film?

Jonathan Kasdan: I would. Well, first of all I'm dying to see a Lando film. I would help in anyway I was asked to. I think that's a great movie. I mean, I think you know one of the things though that's interesting is, I want to see a Lando film very similar way to the way I think Larry was excited by a Han film. Which is in this movie, Lando gets to occupy, the role that Han occupied in the earlier films, which is he doesn't have to carry the burden of being the protagonist. He gets to have all the jokes. He gets to be the foil, you know. So one of the tricky challenges of making a Lando movie is, suddenly Lando is at the center of it. He, somebody else is going to step into that role of being the, maybe even Han, you know. So it's a fun universe to play around and then think about what we can do with it. Certainly, as much as Larry insists he's done, he couldn't have, we couldn't have written a movie more pregnant with possibility for future adventures, so I don't trust him a hundred percent.

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Screen Rant: And hey, maybe not as popular as Han and Chewie, but Lando and Lobot.

Jonathan Kasdan: Absolutely. Well, if there, and if there is a Lando movie, it's hard to imagine doing it without Lobot.

Screen Rant: Exactly.

Jonathan Kasdan: Since he was one of the greatest DJ's in the galaxy in an earlier career.

Screen Rant: He was definitely. Now with everything, that Solo- Everything looked very practical and all the set pieces looked amazing. So can you talk to me about some of the favorite scenes, actual scenes that you enjoyed writing on this one?

Jonathan Kasdan: There were a lot. Because actually our guide when we sat down was, "What's the best thing that can happen now? What's the next thing that can happen now?" So it was kind of making our own greatest hits, jamming them into the movie. And we wanted to just serve as, anything like that where, we want it to be honorable to the history, but we didn't feel any obligation to hit anything particularly.

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Screen Rant: Interesting. Star Wars characters, so many and they're so rich and there's so many out there. What other character would you like to see on their, no pun intended, but, solo adventure?

Jonathan Kasdan: Honestly, I don't know. I mean it sort of the machinations of how Kathy is going to expand this empire is something that's closely guarded and even she won't tell us exactly what she wants to do. But she, there's certainly so, this period of time that were in. These 10 years prior to A New Hope, are so rich with characters that you know in cross sections as you say, Bossk.  And, you know, the scene in the, in the Star Destroyer where you see those bounty hunters go by. I think they all could potentially intersect with the stories we're telling. And certainly Jaba is a character we talked a lot about having in this movie, and was there a place for him, and you know, is this thing rich enough to hold more movies? If so-

Lawrence Kasdan: The suggestion is that this criminal underworld is full of people we've never met. In the 10 years between this movie and A New Hope, Han has on his dealings with lots.

Screen Rant: That's my favorite part of the Star Wars universe actually is the underworld. I can't wait.

Jonathan Kasdan: Absolutely. And likewise, you know, I've always, I was passionate from the beginning about who ran the crime organization. And you know, when we got to see his mechanical legs rise up and, you know, I want to know his story. I want to see that on film.

Lawrence Kasdan: A lot of characters that have enormous impact.

MORE: Read Screen Rant's Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Key Release Dates
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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