Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story
Alden Ehrenreich's casting as young Han Solo has been criticized ever since we first heard about it, but despite rumors about his acting (in)abilities and the pressure of making the character his own, the actor delivered a brilliant performance - making him the best thing in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo isn't a typical origin story. If anything, it feels like it's only the beginning of a string of events that made Han what he was when fans first met him in Star Wars: A New Hope. While the (mostly) Ron Howard-directed flick subjected the titular character to experiences that would have helped in shaping him as the charming but cynical character that he became, there's no one big moment that drastically changed him forever. Despite being betrayed by his mentor (Tobias Beckett) and then his first love (Qi'Ra), he still handed over the coaxium to Enfys Nest just as he promised.
Interestingly, this version of Han isn't that different from Harrison Ford's in the original trilogy. He's also cocky, brash and would always try to talk his way out of a tricky situation. The change wasn't so much focused on his personality but on his outlook on life, and Ehrenreich effectively sells the idea of a young man slowly learning to navigate his way in a cruel world.
- This Page: Casting Solo and Production Rumors
- Page 2: Alden Ehrenreich Proved the Doubters Wrong
THE HUNT FOR THE NEW HAN SOLO
Originally played by Ford in the original trilogy and then in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it wasn't an easy task to find another actor who would bring the beloved galactic smuggler to life and live up to Ford's legacy. Despite that, Lucasfilm took its chances on the solo Solo movie, and started the hunt for a young actor who could breathe life to the younger iteration of Han.
Lucasfilm reportedly saw over 3,000 young actors for the part - with a slew of names such as Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, and Taron Egerton on the running for the role. But the part ultimately landed in Ehrenreich's lap as first reported on March 2016, and was eventually confirmed two months after. Despite being an unknown, the young actor has already had the privilege to work with critically-acclaimed directors such as Francis Ford Coppola in 2011's Twixt, Warren Beatty in 2016's Rules Don't Apply, and the Coen Brother's 2015's Hail Caesar!
Not many were happy with the choice (but many weren't happy that the movie was being made at all). But similar to Lucasfilm's castings strategy for The Force Awakens, they went with a relatively unknown with such massive potential to be the face of a possible Star Wars franchise - and it was a clever move. With Ehrenreich as the new face of Han Solo, fans would have less to associate him with except for the galactic con-man which makes it easier to build his image up. Unfortunately, landing the role was just the beginning of an uphill battle to prove himself worthy.
PRODUCTION TROUBLE RUMORS
Months went by and the casting sheet for Solo started to be filled out - surrounding Ehrenreich with more established actors like Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson. By February 2017, original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller started principal photography. But by end of June, Lucasfilm announced that the directing duo was exiting the project due to creative differences with just about three weeks left of filming. Seasoned director Ron Howard eventually stepped in and retooled the film by reshooting about 70% of the film.
Rumors about what really went down behind-the-scenes of Solo continued to make the rounds online after Howard's entrance. Aside from the alleged falling-out of Lord and Miller with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, reports that Lucasfilm hired an acting coach to help Ehrenreich improve his performance became a major cause for concern for the fandom. While tapping the help of an acting coach is a usual exercise in Hollywood, it was blown out of proportion, prompting fans to be even more doubtful on the actor's ability to step into the big shoes of Ford as Han Solo.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019