Disney's continuation of the Star Wars franchise got off to a roaring start when Star Wars: The Force Awakens took the box office by storm a few months ago, leaving critics and fans alike eager to see what comes next in the main saga. There's more than just Episodes VIII and IX to look forward to, however, as Disney has also launched a series of Star Wars spinoffs, starting with this year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Among the planned spinoffs is a prequel about the life of rakish smuggler Han Solo, before he ran into Luke and Leia and became embroiled in a war against the Empire. While Harrison Ford returned to the iconic role for The Force Awakens, he's a little bit too mature and distinguished now to be playing a twenty-something version of Han Solo (and he's also busy getting ready to return to the Indiana Jones franchise), so Lucasfilm has been looking at a number of up-and-coming young actors for the role. However, according to reports there was one clear frontrunner: Hail, Caesar!'s Alden Ehrenreich.
Now the New York Post's Page Six is reporting that, according to "Hollywood sources," Ehrenreich has finally landed the role. Page Six's insider said that "Alden really impressed Disney and Lucasfilm execs with his screen tests," and that "The deal is basically done." While that's obviously not official, it certainly fits with what we've been hearing up until now about Disney and Lucasfilm's interest in Ehrenreich, and the news has since been corroborated by THR, Variety, TheWrap and Deadline. In addition to his role in the Coen brothers' most recent film, Ehrenreich also played the lead in 2013 fantasy romance Beautiful Creatures and appeared in Woody Allen drama Blue Jasmine. Check out some clips of Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar! below.
The Han Solo spinoff, which is set for release in 2018, has already stirred up interest due to the appointment of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller - more commonly known as the duo that can spin gold from the seemingly very worst Hollywood ideas. The filmmaking pair previously directed the highly-praised movie reboot of 21 Jump Street, as well as its sequel 22 Jump Street, and were also the minds behind 2014's animated hit The Lego Movie. The Han Solo spinoff is being co-written by The Force Awakens, Return of the Jedi and Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and his son Jon Kasdan (The First Time).
Lucasfilm's focus right now is on promoting Rogue One, and there is a rumor that Rogue One will feature a small cameo by the new Han Solo, which would explain why the spinoff has started casting so early. We'll keep following this story and keep you updated on any developments.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.