Earlier this year, Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made several unfavorable headlines when it became known that the film would be undergoing reshoots during the summer. While those closest to the production maintained that it was business as usual for the tentpole, the flurry of rumors gave some fans reason to be concerned. The cause for the pickups varied depending on the report. Some said Disney wanted to lighten up the tone. Others indicated that 40 to 60 percent of the final product had to be redone due to script rewrites. More rumors indicated that director Gareth Edwards would be shooting a cameo for young Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich.
The behind-the-scenes sizzle reel that was shown during Star Wars Celebration 2016 illustrated that Edwards did in fact make the war drama he always intended to, and the fact that Rogue One remains on target for its December 2016 release date seemed to debunk the notion half the movie was being reshot. Now, none other than Edwards himself has squashed another bit of Rogue One speculation pertaining to a certain Corellian smuggler.
Star Wars Underworld came across interviews from Celebration Europe that hadn't found their way into the news cycle yet. The first was from Edwards, who was asked about Han Solo's involvement in his film. Those excited to see Ehrenreich in the role are going to have to wait until Phil Lord and Chris Miller's anthology movie opens in May 2018:
"I’m not sure if I’m allowed to do this, but I think I should…. Han Solo’s not in the movie."
While Lucasfilm employees have done an excellent job of keeping any twists and turns under lock and key, they haven't been afraid to come forward and outright deny any false fan theories, allowing viewers to maintain expectations when watching the films for the first time. Pablo Hidalgo of the Star Wars story group has put an end to the "Snoke is Plagueis" hypothesis, and it's for the best Edwards has confirmed there is no Han Solo in his spinoff. Given where Rogue One takes place in the timeline, Han's inclusion would have come across as forced and unnatural to the narrative. He wasn't a part of the Rebellion until the Battle of Yavin, so why would he take part in stealing the Death Star plans?
Still, Rogue One is going to feature at least one iconic character from a galaxy far, far away: Darth Vader. The legendary villain will be appearing on the big screen for the first time since 2005's Revenge of the Sith, and will have a small, but impactful, role to play. Disney and Lucasfilm have focused mainly on the new Rogue One cast during marketing, revealing very few official details (other than James Earl Jones' return) about Vader. It hasn't even been stated who will don the costume this time around, but it will be someone new to the franchise. Prequel star Hayden Christensen isn't coming back, per Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, when asked about the actor being in the movie:
"No. That is not true. I can confirm that. He is not."
Honestly, this isn't surprising at all. As we've said before, Jones was the irreplaceable one; just about anybody in peak physical condition can wear the costume and "act" intimidating. In addition, Christensen has made comments in the past that suggest he wouldn't just hop back on board the Star Wars train for a quick paycheck. Even if he was asked by the studio, it's unlikely he would accept. Rumored names have popped up over the past few months, but as long as Lucasfilm found a "body-builder" type (a la David Prowse), they should be in great shape.
Christensen's lack of a part in Rogue One is arguably a non-story, but many will be pleased to know that young Han Solo won't be seen. Part of the appeal of the anthology Star Wars projects is that they can break off in new directions and feature fresh faces to truly expand the universe and flesh out the ever-expanding galaxy. Plus, there's a chance that Ehrenreich could headline his own trilogy of spinoffs, so there's no need to include more Han Solo in a story where he doesn't fit. Everyone loves the scruffy looking nerf herder, but we don't want him to overstay his welcome.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in 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 Underworld