Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is arguably one of the most important figures in the history of the Star Wars franchise. He's had a hand in penning The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and last year's The Force Awakens - all of which earned critical acclaim. He's also on board to tackle the script for Phil Lord and Chris Miller's young Han Solo anthology film, which will hit theaters in May 2018. Obviously, the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the currently in production Star Wars: Episode VIII are the more pressing concerns for Lucasfilm at this juncture, but Han Solo has been making some headlines of late.
Miller celebrated May the 4th (Star Wars Day) by tweeting out a picture of Solo's iconic blaster, teasing that "shooting" would be starting soon. The very next day, Hail, Caesar! standout Alden Ehrenreich was cast as the film's lead, the culmination of a process that saw no less than 2,500 actors try out for the part. As Lord and Miller continue to work away on pre-production, it's now been revealed when principal photography will commence.
While receiving the AJFF Icon Award for Contributions to the Cinematic Arts (hat tip Star Wars News Net), Kasdan took part in a Q&A session where he touched upon his work in the Star Wars galaxy. Some fans are skeptical of the Han Solo film specifically because it involves recasting the legend Harrison Ford. However, Kasdan feels moviegoers should be excited for the project, citing the talent of the directors:
"You know, Chris Miller and Phil Lord are going to direct it. They’re great, funny and imaginative and we’ve had a great time together. My son [Jon] and I wrote the script and Chris and Phil are working on it and they’re about to move to London to start shooting in January. And it should be fun."
It's long been rumored that Han Solo would begin filming some point in early 2017 to meet its release date, but this is the first time the outlines of a schedule have been confirmed by one of the filmmakers. With the creative team eying January 2017 to start rolling the cameras, viewers should learn more about the film over the next handful of months. It's already come out that Han's trusted pal Chewbacca will be featured in the film, but the rest of the supporting cast has yet to take shape. The ever-churning Star Wars rumor mill should be active as Lord and Miller assemble their full roster of actors. This movie could potentially show a young Lando Calrissian or spotlight a collection of new faces. Only time will tell.
As exciting as it is to see Lord and Miller lend their skill set to the Star Wars franchise, Han Solo will be a bittersweet occasion for longtime fans. Kasdan has stated that this will be his final screenplay for the series, as he feels it's time to step down after four films. Since the veteran scribe has been so instrumental in constructing the universe - even giving Finn one of his defining characteristics - many moviegoers would rather not envision a Star Wars without Kasdan. Fortunately, it sounds like he's still going to have a hand in the forthcoming installments of the sequel trilogy, despite not officially writing the scripts:
"[Star Wars Episode 8 Director] Rian [Johnson] is a friend of mine. I’m getting to know Colin Trevorrow, who is going to direct Episode 9, so I feel very involved with it."
Teasing that he has "a little information" about where the overarching narrative of the new films is going, this development is great to hear. Based on these comments, Kasdan is going to serve as a sounding board for Johnson and Trevorrow as they piece together their films, lending some advice along the way to make each one as strong as it can be. History has proven that Kasdan is a very reliable resource; his résumé speaks for itself and he clearly knows how to craft entertaining and engaging stories that touch the audience. It's similar to Simon Pegg's role on Episode VII, where J.J. Abrams bounced ideas off of his friend as production chugged along. Filmmaking is a collaborative process, and having a strong voice like Kasdan around hopefully means the future of Star Wars will be very bright.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Star Wars News Net