The identity of Paul Bettany's Solo: A Star Wars Story character is among the many new details revealed about the film's cast of criminals. Whereas the previous films in the franchise concerned themselves with galactic wars between good and evil (with Force training thrown in for good measure), Ron Howard's prequel will take viewers into the underworld. It's been said Solo draws from Western and noir influences, but Bettany himself compared it to a gangster film, which is something we haven't seen in the movies before. A wide-eyed Han, frequently set back by his nice streak, is trying to make a name for himself in crime.
Based on that description, it's obvious Han ran with a different crowd before he met well-meaning heroes Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. We already know Emilia Clarke's Qi'ra is his oldest friend when Solo starts, but along the way he'll encounter some other key figures that will help shape him into the man he becomes in the original trilogy. Chief among them are Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and he's included in the latest rundown of Solo information.
EW ran a piece covering three criminal characters from the spinoff. As previously reported, Beckett is Han's mentor, taking the directionless orphan under his wing and showing him the ropes of the trade. He was modeled after Long John Silver in Treasure Island, primarily in the sense that he's a veteran in this line of work but has yet to land a big score. Beckett is orchestrating a heist in the trailer, seemingly one that looks to rob the Conveyex. Thandie Newton's Val is a member of Beckett's crew, having worked with him for a while when Han meets them. At first, she isn't a big fan of Solo sticking his head into their affairs, but co-writer Jon Kasdan noted their relationship goes in an "interesting direction" over time. From the sound of things, Beckett and Val are Han's surrogate parents.
Most noteworthy in the article are the details about Bettany's character, crime boss Dryden Vos. The actor was a late addition to the cast when Howard took over, allegedly replacing Michael K. Williams due to scheduling conflicts. Kasdan said he combined "class and swagger" in his portrayal, painting Dryden as someone deep in crime and seemingly at the top of the food chain. At this point, he's the closest thing Solo has to a villain, so it will be interesting to see how he fits into the proceedings. Longtime Star Wars fans will recall Dryden's surname was used for Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos, but Lucasfilm made sure to mention this is just a coincidence and not confirmation of a connection. Han didn't believe in the Force in A New Hope, so Star Wars' most recognizable aspect should have a limited presence in this film.
From the looks of things, Beckett, Val, and Dryden represent something of a fork in the road for Han and Qi'ra, who survived on the streets together in rough childhoods. We know Han ultimately sides with Beckett and Val, but images from Solo suggest Qi'ra may align herself with the more wealthy criminal. There are multiple scenes in the trailer where Qi'ra is dressed in fancy and opulent attire, which contrasts greatly from Han's space cowboy getup. Clarke wasn't shy in teasing that trust plays a key factor in their relationship, so perhaps their differing paths lead to some kind of betrayal. It'll be interesting to watch the twists and turns of Solo unfold.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019