In addition to a sequel trilogy set in the core Skywalker family saga, the new era of Star Wars films will see standalone anthology movies released between the traditional numbered episodes. Lucasfilm officially has two of these projects coming through the pipeline - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December, and a young Han Solo movie due in May 2018. The studio is starting to piece together the team for the latter of those, with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller drawing from a script by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon.
Casting is underway, as the filmmakers search for the actor to follow Harrison Ford's footsteps (an unenviable task, indeed). But what of the other characters fans will see in the prequel? It's hard to envision the Corellian smuggler without his faithful Wookie companion standing by his side, and it's now been confirmed that the dynamic duo of Han and Chewbacca will be on the big screen once more when the young Han film reaches theaters.
While at the Deutsche Bank 2016 Media, Internet and Telecom Conference (hat tip The Wrap), Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed the future of the Star Wars franchise and the upcoming films they have planned. The anthology series was a key part of his talk, as he provided some details about Lord and Miller's film, saying that it will serve as an origin story for the iconic pair:
“We have others in the works, including one, which is an origin story about Han Solo and Chewie. And that’ll come after ‘Star Wars 8’ in 2018. And then there will possibly be more thereafter.”
Iger's comments are quite vague, so viewers will be debating what exactly the Mouse House chief means when he says "an origin story about Han Solo and Chewie." From the sound of it, the main narrative could be the fateful first meeting between the two, showcasing how they formed an inseparable bond that would last a lifetime. It's a topic that was explored in the now defunct Expanded Universe, but has yet to get the official new canon treatment. Rumors have suggested something similar to the old EU, where Han rescues Chewie from Imperial slavery, leading the Wookie to owe Solo a life debt. That would make for a compelling story, and many would be interested in seeing how the best friends came to be.
At the same token, "origin story" can imply one of many things in this instance. Kasdan has mentioned in the past that one of his goals with the young Han film is to examine what the character was like before he "put on his cynical coat" and answer the question of how he became the person Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi met in the Mos Eisley Cantina. By the time the anthology movie starts, Han and Chewie could already be in the middle of their smuggling careers, going on another mission for Jabba the Hutt or some other seedy underbelly type. It will be fascinating to see which route Lucasfilm ultimately goes, since there are numerous ways to tackle this particular movie.
Some fans are skeptical about the idea of a young Han Solo film for a few reasons, but there's no denying that the studio has assembled a group of talented people to bring it to theaters. Lord and Miller have made a career out of spinning questionable concepts into cinematic gold, and Kasdan is a veteran Star Wars scribe behind several of the series' best moments. Throw in the fact that this will be the writer's swan song in a galaxy far, far away, he's going to want to make it count. For now, they've earned the benefit of the doubt.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens will be on Blu-ray April 5, 2016; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Wrap