After the first Star Wars spinoff film, Rogue One, became a runaway commercial and critical success, Disney and Lucasfilm are gearing up to start production on the next anthology film, a prequel centered around young Han Solo. In the early going, the cast is shaping up to be one of the movie's strongest assets. Rising star Alden Ehrenreich has the unenviable task of following Harrison Ford's iconic footsteps, and joining him for the journey is a collection of talent that includes Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller plan to begin filming in February 2017.
Glover is locked in to play a young version of smooth scoundrel Lando Calrissian. Since coming on board, the actor has been very vocal about how honored he is to portray the character. Not only does the Golden Globe winner have a personal connection to Lando and the Star Wars franchise as a whole, the opportunity to take part in the galaxy far, far away means that there will be millions of fans around the globe following every step of the project's development. Han Solo is undoubtedly going to have massive expectations, especially since it deals with some legendary characters that people love. Glover is very much aware of that fact and is keeping it in mind.
In an interview with Deadline, the Atlanta star briefly discussed Lando and the Han Solo film, touching on the pressures that are involved with being a part of something this huge:
“Lando’s a big deal. He’s the first toy I ever got... It’s interesting, when you have something iconic in a range when people pay attention to it, it’s hard. You want to live up to the expectation, but you can only live up to your own."
Both Ehrenreich and Glover need to strike the tricky balance of honoring the performances of Ford and Billy Dee Williams, while also making the characters their own for Han Solo. An apt comparison would be the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline, which recast figures like Captain Kirk and Spock with new actors; but even there the filmmakers had the luxury of an alternate universe where there was arguably more leeway in the portrayals. Young Han and Lando are meant to be the same characters audiences see in the original trilogy, so there's a fine line to walk. As long as Glover and Ehrenreich are able to capture the spirit of the dynamic duo, then viewers should be able to accept it and move on within the opening minutes. That'll be a challenge for Lord and Miller, as well.
This is perhaps the toughest test of Glover's career, but he is looking forward to the experience. Saying, "It's gonna be a fun time," the actor can't wait to become a part of the Star Wars legacy and take the mantle of Lando moving forward. It'll be interesting to see how Han Solo ultimately comes together, but with all the skilled people working on the film, chances are it will be another worthwhile addition to the series canon when it premieres in 2018.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018