The $1 billion success of Rogue One showed there was very much an audience for Star Wars films set outside the traditional Skywalker family saga, opening the door for Lucasfilm to develop plenty of other spinoffs in a galaxy far, far away. While it remains to be seen what projects will be green lit after Episode IX premieres in 2019, fans have been following all the updates for Phil Lord and Chris Miller's young Han Solo anthology, which officially started production at the end of January. Though some viewers remain skeptical of a prequel centered around the famous smuggler, Disney has assembled quite a cast of talented actors, generating much excitement.
A main quartet consisting of Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), Emilia Clarke (the mysterious female lead), and Woody Harrelson (Han's mentor) has been established for a while, and recently some other names became attached to the project. Though Lucasfilm remained mum on the potential involvement of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Thandie Newton when the rumors first popped up, the studio has now confirmed they're in Han Solo with the release of an official cast photo.
In a release on StarWars.com, Lucasfilm announced the commencement of principal photography and posted a picture of Lord and Miller with most of the main cast assembled in the Millennium Falcon, You can check it out below:
Pictured alongside the directors are Ehrenreich (sporting a very late-'70s Harrison Ford hairdo), Glover, Clarke, Harrelson, Waller-Bridge, and Chewbacca, who will be played by Joonas Suotamo in Han Solo. Suotamo first took on the role of the beloved Wookiee in The Force Awakens, handling the more physical aspects of the production to make life easier on Peter Mayhew. Many expected he would reprise the character in the spinoff, and it's nice to see he's firmly a part of the Star Wars family. Though Newton is not in the image, Lucasfilm's release says she is a member of the ensemble, so it will be interesting to see who she plays. Waller-Bridge, some might recall, is allegedly portraying a female droid via motion-capture - though her character also remains under wraps.
Interestingly, Lucasfilm reaffirmed Han Solo's previously established May 2018 release date, contradicting the previous rumors the studio was considering a shift to December of that year. While the premiere could very well be changed, right now the studio looks to be committed to the summer timeframe. That would be quite a deviation from the current patterns they've stuck to in the early years of the Star Wars renaissance, but Lucasfilm has steered the ship down the right course so far, so it's safe to say they know what they're doing. The galaxy far, far away used to dominate the summer, and now Han and Chewie will bring the franchise home again.
- 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