Star Wars fans are already counting down the days until The Last Jedi reaches theaters, but Lucasfilm is looking ahead to the next film on their slate. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller recently began principal photography on their young Han Solo movie, the second standalone spinoff in the franchise. One of the project's strongest assets is undoubtedly the all-star ensemble cast, which includes Alden Ehrenreich as Captain Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as the mysterious female lead, and Woody Harrelson as Han's mentor. Lately, there's been some debate over Harrelson's character being key Legends figure Garris Shrike.
With only four actors (plus Chewbacca) confirmed by the time filming began, some moviegoers believed Han Solo could be a smaller-scale entry in the series, especially when compared to the other titles of the Disney era. Even if that were so, there seemed to be some roles waiting to be filled. Now, it appears another up-and-coming talent is close to joining the anthology movie in a main part.
Variety is reporting that Fleabag breakout star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is in talks for what is only described as a "key role." Should she sign on, Waller-Bridge would not be appearing in the flesh. Apparently, her character would be CGI, with the actress possibly shooting her scenes with motion-capture technology. Chewie, C-3PO, and Rogue One scene-stealer K-2SO are comparisons Variety makes, implying that this unknown individual is a sidekick of sorts. It is said that Waller-Bridge would be a "significant part" of the cast, so this isn't merely a cameo.
With details characteristically hard to come by, viewers will have to speculate amongst themselves what this mystery role could be. It is plausible that Waller-Bridge could portray the latest Star Wars movie droid. Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One added to the long legacy of robots in a galaxy far, far away with BB-8 and the aforementioned K-2SO. The droids have quickly become fan-favorite figures and are instrumental in driving merchandising sales. Han mentioned in A New Hope that he's flown from one side of the galaxy to the other, so it's likely he and his crew needed some android assistance along the way. Of course, Waller-Bridge might be playing a new alien, similar to Star Wars 7's Maz Kanata. Time will tell.
In contrast to many of the other stars in Han Solo (who were established in high-profile productions), Waller-Bridge is a relative unknown. Most of her résumé consists of TV series, but she has appeared in feature films like Albert Nobbs and The Iron Lady. Waller-Bridge was nominated for a Critics' Choice Award for her performance in Fleabag, so it's clear she has some skills. Han Solo would undoubtedly be her biggest gig to date, but Star Wars has a history of plucking people out of obscurity rather successfully (including Daisy Ridley). That's to say, Lord and Miller deserve the benefit of the doubt, as casting has been a strength of the new Star Wars films since Disney took over.
- 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