The Star Wars franchise is growing in several new and exciting ways since Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012. The most evident manner, of course, is the slate of live-action films that began last year with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Mouse House's plan is to release a new installment annually for the foreseeable future, initially alternating between the sequel trilogy in the Skywalker family saga and standalone anthologies. Two spinoffs have been confirmed thus far, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and a young Han Solo movie, which sees Alden Ehrenreich take over the iconic role of the scruffy-looking nerf herder.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are aiming to start principal photography on Han Solo in January 2017, which means filling out the supporting cast is a top priority. As rumors swirl about who could be young Lando Calrissian, there's also the matter of the film's female lead. Back in August, it was reported that Lucasfilm was specifically searching for a non-white actress to play that role. If the latest update is any indiction, that earlier bit of speculation was correct as the creative team nears a final decision.
Per Variety, Tessa Thompson (Creed), Naomi Scott (Power Rangers), and Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road) screen tested in London this past week for Han Solo's female lead. The sources say it could be a couple of weeks until someone is brought on board, as Lord and Miller are obviously taking their time to ensure they have the right woman for the job.
The trio is comprised of talented performers who would certainly be welcome additions to the galaxy far, far away, so it will be interesting to see which one Lord and Miller eventually go with. Thompson may have the upper hand, since she is already part of the Disney family thanks to her role in next fall's Thor: Ragnarok. There's the possibility that it could be an actress not named in the report; fans may recall that Kelly Marie Tran was cast in Star Wars: Episode VIII without her name popping up before the official announcement. It's worth pointing out that Thompson, Kravitz, and Scott all have relatively free schedules upcoming, so that shouldn't be an issue moving forward.
One of the biggest questions that remain is which character will be the female lead in Han Solo. A plausible theory is that the film will bring Sana Starros to the big screen. She has appeared in the comic books (which are canon), claiming to be Han Solo's wife. In actuality, she is not; the "marriage" between the two was part of a hustle they conducted while working together. Lucasfilm has looked to the non-movie materials for characters before, as evidenced by Snaps Wexley in The Force Awakens and Saw Gerrera in Rogue One. As the property continues to expand, the studio is regularly looking for ways to illustrate the interconnectivity between all things Star Wars, and making Sana part of the Han Solo spinoff would be fun for die-hard fans.
Many will also be curious if the Han Solo female lead's deal with Lucasfilm will be a one-time offer or a multi-picture contract. Ehrenreich is said to be on board for three movies, so it's possible the studio is looking for a cast of fresh faces to build another series around moving forward. With production on pace to begin in just a few short month, viewers should learn some answers soon.
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.