As viewers begin the countdown to Star Wars: Episode VIII's premiere, Disney and Lucasfilm will get the ball rolling on a different project set in a galaxy far, far away. Next month (as of this writing), directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller will start production on their young Han Solo spinoff, starring Alden Ehrenreich as the famous smuggler. Over the past few months, the studio has filled out the supporting cast, enlisting Donald Glover as the new Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as the female lead, and now Woody Harrelson as Han's mentor.
While some fans still question the necessity of a Han Solo prequel, there's no denying that Lord and Miller have assembled a strong ensemble that should be fun to watch. Harrelson in particular is a very valuable addition to the film, as he is one of the finest actors working today. Harrelson is a multi-faceted thespian, capable of delivering dramatic and comedic performances - talents that in all likelihood will make him a great fit for this role. From the sound of it, he'll demonstrate some range in the second Star Wars anthology film.
Harrelson participated in a Facebook Live chat with Mashable (hat tip Star Wars News Net), where he briefly discussed his mystery Han Solo character:
“I’m a mentor to Han, but I’m also a bit of a criminal. I don’t think I should say much more than that because the Force is not allowing me.”
This description is not entirely shocking, since Han himself was "a bit of a criminal" when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first crossed paths with him at Mos Eisley. With Han under his wing, chances are Harrelson is playing more of a charming rogue than a ruthless individual - though he could certainly pull off both convincingly. Regardless of the mentor's nature, the relationship he has with Han will be interesting to watch. Whether it's Luke and Darth Vader or Jyn and Galen Erso, Star Wars films typically rely on a child/parent dynamic to be the emotional center. Just knowing that Harrelson is portraying a guardian or adviser of sorts to Han, it sounds like that's the angle Lord and Miller are going for.
With Rogue One still in the midst of its monster box office run and the marketing for Star Wars 8 about to start, official details on Han Solo are few and far between as Lucasfilm focuses on other priorities. Still, Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that the film will be an "origin story" about Han and his faithful companion Chewbacca, while screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan mentioned he wanted to examine what Solo was like before he "put on his cynical coat." It would appear that this Han may be a little more optimistic than usual, before life-altering events change him forever. If this turns out to be the case, then Han Solo could strongly complement the existing films in the same way Rogue One did.
As Lord and Miller gear up to start principal photography, it will be fascinating to see if any other big names are brought on board for roles. So far, there are just four confirmed main characters (along with a call for extras), and no one has been revealed as the antagonist of the movie yet. There seem to be some more pieces needed to complete this puzzle, but things have been coming along nicely and soon fans will learn more.
Source: Star Wars News Net
- 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