Lucasfilm and Disney are still in the midst of the theatrical run for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but attention has already turned to the future of the franchise. Next up is the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will take the universe back to the Skywalker story. However, Lucasfilm's next priority will be the start of production on the unofficially-titled young Han Solo movie.
The studios have so far cast Alden Ehrenreich as the young smuggler ahead of Harrison Ford's portrayal of him in the original Star Wars movie trilogy and beyond, and have teamed him up with Donald Glover as young Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke in an unknown role. It was recently reported that Woody Harrelson was in talks to play Han's mentor in the film, and it turns out those talks were successful too.
Lucasfilm made the official announcement today that Harrelson has joined the Han Solo movie cast, but is keeping his role a secret for the time being. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller commented on the latest addition to their Star Wars film by stating the following:
We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody. His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.
Since Harrelson was reported to be the front runner for the role, it is no surprise that Lucasfilm was able to convince him to sign on officially. If there is one surprising thing to come out of this, its how quickly the deal came about. It was reported just last week that he was in "early talks," showing that the studios went after Harrelson hard to close a deal - meaning they definitively moved on from Christian Bale for the role.
Some fans are still not onboard with the idea of Han Solo needing a mentor to teach him how to be a smuggler, but there is no telling how involved Harrelson's character will actually be in the young Han Solo movie, or if he will be a good "mentor" at all. The range that Lord and Miller described could allow for Harrelson to serve as a mentor and an enemy to Solo all at once - similar to Yondu and Star-Lord's relationship in Guardians of the Galaxy, for example.
With production on the Han Solo movie set to begin soon, it may not be long before some concrete information about Harrelson's character is revealed. However, Lucasfilm's recent track record shows they prefer secrecy whenever possible, so it could be quite some time before official details about Harrelson's character are revealed - especially if the film moves to December as rumored. Regardless of his character or the movie's release date, Harrelson's addition is another great get for the galaxy far, far away.
- 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
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019