J.J. Abrams' highly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens will reach theaters in just over two weeks (at the time of writing this) - in the process, kicking off Disney/Lucasfilm's run of not only Star Wars saga movies, but also spinoffs/Anthology films. Those two Anthology installments that have been announced so far both take place before the events of the 1977 Star Wars (a.k.a. Episode IV: A New Hope); focusing on the Rebel mission to steal the first Death Star's plans and the adventures of young Han Solo, respectively.
Godzilla director Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - the first Star Wars Anthology film - is already well into production, in order to make its December 2016 release date. Meanwhile, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, 21 & 22 Jump Street) aren't expected to start filming the young Han Solo movie until late 2016/early 2017, but have already begun the search to find the actor who will follow in Harrison Ford's footsteps.
THR is reporting that more than 2,500 actor have either met about the young Han Solo project or have sent in taped auditions to the film's casting director, Jeanne McCarthy, in addition to Lord and Miller (all three of whom worked together before on the Jump Street film franchise).
Based on the THR report, a number of the better-known actors who are more formally in the running for the movie now also made the cut on our rundown of actors who could play young Han Solo. That includes:
Other well-established actors in the running for the Han Solo Anthology film include Logan Lerman (Fury) and Dave Franco - who worked alongside Lord and Miller on the Jump Street franchise - as well as actors as young as 16-year old Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead), and as old as 34-year old Rami Malek (Mr. Robot). Nonetheless, with such a wide net having been cast, the odds are arguably more in favor of a less-known actor or relative newcomer being cast as young Han Solo instead, much like The Force Awakens features lesser-known actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega playing its young heroes.
Of course, the casting processes for Force Awakens and the young Han Solo movie are quite different; the former has relative newcomers playing brand-new characters, while the latter will require its star to step into a role with four decades of baggage. Ford was not a well-known name when he played Solo in the original Star Wars either; his most noteworthy role prior to that movie was arguably his supporting turn in Star Wars creator George Lucas's 1973 film, American Graffiti.
In fact, Ford has already offered the best advice that anyone could give to whoever ends up walking away with the young Han Solo role:
“I would say, ‘Talk to your director. Watch the movies. And welcome aboard. Make it your own.'”
Ford also brought a wry sense of humor to the Han Solo character during the original Star Wars movie trilogy that, in many ways, is perhaps the character's definitive quality, as a young man and smuggler in the Star Wars universe. That's not to say that whomever is cast as young Solo has to bring the same level of self-awareness to the role right off the bat - seeing as this film is an origin story for Han, after all, and the character will no doubt evolve into more of a cynical fellow over the course of the narrative - but it's certainly something to keep in mind, regardless.
That said: who's your dream pick to play young Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars Anthology film?
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 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.