WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Han Solo may have died in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but moviegoers are not done with the iconic smuggler just yet. One of the Anthology movies Lucasfilm is planning is a young Han Solo adventure, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) directing a script from veteran Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon. It is currently slated for theatrical release in May 2018.
With the creative team in place, the most pertinent task at hand is to find the actor who will follow Harrison Ford's footsteps and portray Han Solo in the prequel. It's an unenviable job for anyone, and the studio wants to make sure they get the right man for the job. They auditioned literally thousands of candidates, with a recent short list turning up names such as Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Logan Lerman, and Dave Franco (among others). Now, some more thespians have popped up, including one of our picks for the role.
Star Wars News Net is reporting that Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is on Lucasfilm's list and has apparently auditioned multiple times for Han Solo. In addition, their sources say that Hail, Caesar! breakout star Alden Ehrenreich is also being eyed for the film. The actors have allegedly auditioned both separately and together, calling into question if they're being looked at for different parts or competing against each other for Solo.
It's important to remember that this is all rumor for now, but it would make sense if Lucasfilm was considering these two. Egerton has been at the top of fan lists since the Han Solo spinoff was announced, having already proven he has what it takes to play a charming rogue in Matthew Vaughn's gleeful sendup of spy films. While not as well known yet, Ehrenreich is a rising talent; his performance in Hail, Caesar! was one of the better-received aspects of Joel and Ethan Coen's Hollywood satire, so Lucasfilm may want to scoop Ehrenreich up before he gets an offer from another franchise.
Since the Han Solo Anthology won't premiere until summer 2018, principal photography presumably would not begin until some point in 2017 (January 2017 is the reported start date). Where we stand now, both Egerton and Ehrenreich have clear schedules that would line up with the Han Solo production timeline. The former is shooting both Kingsman 2 and Robin Hood: Origins this year, but has nothing planned yet after that. Ehrenreich has two more films coming out in 2016 (The Yellow Birds and an untitled Warren Beatty project), with a clean slate in his immediate future.
Before people get too excited about either actor flying the Millennium Falcon around, there have been conflicting reports on this matter. Umberto Gonzalez of Heroic Hollywood says that the rumors about the auditions are false, and that very well could be the case. Something as massive as the Star Wars franchise is a fertile breeding ground for rampant speculation about the various projects in development, so there's no way of knowing anything for sure until the studio confirms something. Unfortunately, Star Wars News Net did not name their source, so it's difficult to gauge their validity. That said, the public short list did not include all of the names that were be considered, so there could be some fire to this smoke.
In the meantime, all fans can do is wait and see who will be the new Han; Egerton and Ehrenreich becoming two additional names to consider before Lucasfilm makes their official announcement. It's believed that the young Han Solo will cameo in this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so the studio may bring someone on board sooner rather than later. Whether it's Egerton, Ehrenreich, or one of the other several possibilities, Lucasfilm knows that recasting Han Solo is a daunting and risky proposition that could make or break the film. They want to be sure they make the best choice.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.