A recent photo of Ron Howard and Thandie Newton from the set of the untitled Han Solo movie includes a clue that suggests the Westworld actor might be portraying an Imperial officer in the Star Wars universe. With the complete absence of marketing for Han Solo, very little is known about the movie's plot or characters other than minor details able to be gleaned from the numerous set photos replacement director Ron Howard has posted to his Twitter and Instagram since he took over the production.
While production of the second Star Wars spin-off movie seemed like it was in major trouble after the exit of the original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Ron Howard has clearly been hard at work, and based on time spent and the number of different sets featured in the images posted to social media by Howard, the new director is fast approaching the point where he could have logically complete eclipsed the work done by Lord and Miller, giving even more evidence to the fact that he'll ultimately be the credited director at the end of the day.
Despite the substantial work put into this movie (both usable and unusable), there has been very little revealed about the actual plot or characters outside of speculation and rumors. However, thanks to Howard's newest set photo with Thandie Newton, we might have our first big hint at her role, as just barely peeking out from under Ron Howard's hand on her shoulder is what appears to be a patch bearing an Imperial insignia.
While Newton is wearing a red scarf, possibly to cover details of the uniform (particularly the dead giveaway high collar), the rest of the uniform bears a striking resemblance to the uniform of Imperial naval officers. Interestingly enough, another hallmark of naval officer uniforms/gear has already been previewed in a previous Ron Howard photo when we got our first confirmation of an Imperial presence in the Han Solo movie. The photo in question is of the black open helmet on a control station. Whether or not that equipment belongs to Newton's character is impossible to determine, but based on what we can see of her uniform, her character likely wears a very similar helmet and works at a similar station.
Of course, this is Star Wars, so don't rule out the possibility that she's only wearing the uniform as a disguise during the scene in question as we've seen heroes do countless times before.
If the uniform indicates that Newton is, in fact, and Imperial officer, however, then this new information makes her the closest thing we have to an antagonist for the film, as Alden Ehrenreich's Han Solo, Donald Glover's Lando, Emilia Clarke's Kira, and Woody Harrelson's Beckett are all likely somewhere on the anti-hero spectrum. While we know the Empire will have a presence in the movie, and rumors even suggest Darth Vader makes an appearance, we have yet to get any hints about what character stands in opposition to Han Solo and his goals.
Other rumors suggest that Jabba the Hutt and/or a variety of Bounty hunters could serve as Solo's adversaries, and while that's very possible, it's looking more and more like the Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder is working with or for Jabba, with the Empire - and possibly Newton's character - serving as his main opposition. Given, the uniform doesn't necessarily indicate a high-ranking position, so there could yet be a bigger villain to be revealed serving as Newton's commanding officer.
With recent hints that the events of Han Solo will bring our motley crew of scoundrels to the Spice Mines of Kessel, Newton's character could be stationed there or on a ship in the same system, but at this point we're stretching the meager trail of breadcrumbs a bit far, especially considering the numerous possible ways her character could factor in, but this newest hint definitely provides a rare but enticing glimpse into the story details of a movie that - despite the impression given by Ron Howard's social media - has been defined by a more than secretive environment compared to other Star Wars projects this close to their release date.
Regardless, with Han Solo's production timeline inching closer and closer to prime marketing season for The Last Jedi, at this point it's fairly safe to assume that any major details about the movie aren't likely to arrive until after The Last Jedi hits theaters in December and Han Solo's marketing begins - hopefully in the weeks following. In the limited time since Star Wars movies have started being made again, the marketing hasn't overlapped, although Han Solo will also be the shortest gap between movies, with only 5 months between it and The Last Jedi as opposed to the 12 month gap enjoyed by Rogue One and The Last Jedi, unless Han Solo also moves to December, but that's unlikely at this point.
- 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