Han Solo, everyone’s favorite shoot-first smuggler and all-around rogue, is getting his very own movie in 2018. It will explore his life in the years leading up to his fateful encounter with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a Mos Eisley cantina.
The still-untitled film is the second “anthology” movie planned for the sci-fi franchise, following 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Set to be directed by The Lego Movie filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the movie features Hail, Caesar! and Beautiful Creatures actor Alden Ehrenreich in the role of a young Han Solo, and will chronicle the character’s early adventures and the origins of his friendship with Chewbacca, his Wookiee co-pilot and partner.
While we’re still waiting on an official title for the film, the young Han Solo movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters May 25, 2018. Here’s everything we know about the Han Solo movie so far:
A mentor reveals himself
When news broke that Woody Harrelson had joined the project, it was rumored that his character would serve as a mentor to the young Han, with some reports stating that his character was named Garris Shrike. The actor has since dropped a few breadcrumbs for hungry fans, indicating that the early intel wasn’t totally correct. While his character will indeed be an important mentor figure for Han, the older man is actually named Beckett.
“I play a guy named Beckett, who’s kind of a criminal and a mentor to Han,” he told Jimmy Fallon during a March 22 appearance on The Tonight Show.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t just the start of several intriguing reveals — that was it. The cast remains tight-lipped about the project, so we’re lucky Harrelson gave up even that much.
Cast and cameras rolling
Disney and Lucasfilm commemorated the start of filming on the movie February 21 with the first photo of the featured cast gathered together.
From left to right, the photo features co-director Christopher Miller (seated), Woody Harrelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo (as Chewbacca), co-director Phil Lord (seated), and Donald Glover.
A mystery in CG
The Star Wars saga has a long history of introducing compelling characters created with practical effects and through a combination of performance-capture technology and digital effects, such as with actress Lupita Nyong’o bringing the alien Maz Kanata to the screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens through the latter method. The story of Han Solo’s early years will apparently continue that trend with yet another computer-generated character in a key role.
According to Variety, Fleabag actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge has joined the cast of the film in an unidentified role that will reportedly play a “significant role” in the story. Described as “a CGI-driven performance,” the outlet compares Waller-Bridge’s mystery role to that of Alan Tudyk’s part in the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as the android K-2SO.
Best known for her acclaimed Amazon Studios series Fleabag, which she created and stars in, Waller-Bridge earned several Critics Choice Award nominations for the series and her performance in it.
The first shot
Everyone knows that Han Solo shot first in the cantina, but co-director Chris Miller commemorated taking the first shot of the upcoming film on January 30, 2017, with an image he posted on Twitter.
— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) January 30, 2017
As the photo indicates, the working title for the movie is “Star Wars: Red Cup” — likely a reference to the popular “Solo” brand of red, plastic party cups. Naturally, that hasn’t stopped some fans from speculating that there could be a more complicated, secret meaning to the film’s working title.
A new (but still scruffy-looking) nerf-herder
Casting an actor to play one of the most iconic Hollywood heroes of all time was no easy task, and the list of contenders for the role was reportedly narrowed down to three actors back in March 2016: Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!), Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction), and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Prior to that report, the list of actors considered for the role also included Whiplash star Miles Teller and The Fault in Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort, among others.
After months of speculation, Ehrenreich was finally confirmed for the role in July 2016, with the announcement made during the Star Wars Celebration convention in London.
Laugh it up, fuzzball
No story about Han Solo is complete without acknowledging his Wookiee pal, Chewbacca, and the movie is expected to offer more insight on the pair’s friendship and partnership over the years. Few details have emerged about where the film will take Han and “Chewie” during their early adventures, but it’s expected that fans will finally learn the truth about why the pair have such a strong loyalty to each other.
There’s still some uncertainty about who will be under the furry costume when cameras begin rolling, as veteran Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew might reprise the role in some form (as he’s done for every film in which Chewbacca appeared). However, it’s more likely that actor Joonas Suotamo — who served as Mayhew’s body double in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens — will take on the majority of on-screen duties.
He’s going to kill her or begin to like her
Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa are one of the big screen’s most memorable couples, but the future Rebel leader from Alderaan certainly wasn’t the only lady to love — or hate — the famous scoundrel.
There are still quite a few mysteries surrounding the studio’s casting for the film’s female lead. Back in October 2016, three actresses were reported to be in the running for the coveted, but unidentified role as the film’s featured actress. The trio included Selma and Creed actress Tessa Thompson (pictured above), Power Rangers and Terra Nova actress Naomi Scott, and X-Men: First Class and Mad Max: Fury Road actress Zoe Kravitz.
Although there wasn’t any indication of the role the actresses were vying for, widespread speculation suggested the role was that of Sana Starros, another smuggler introduced in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars comic book series who has crossed paths with Han and often ended up on the wrong side of deals with him.
The story took an interesting turn a month later, though, when Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke was officially confirmed for an unidentified role in the film.
It remains uncertain whether she landed the role that the three aforementioned actresses were vying for, or if Clarke’s character plays a different part in the film.
One sweet cape
Along with chronicling the early years of Han Solo and his Wookiee pal Chewbacca, the film will also feature another famous — or perhaps infamous — rogue from the Star Wars universe: Lando Calrissian.
After rumors began circulating that Han’s former gambling buddy and predecessor as the pilot of the Millennium Falcon would have a role in the movie, Community and Atlanta actor Donald Glover was almost immediately reported as the leading contender for the role.
Casting was confirmed in October 2016 by Lucasfilm, which announced that Glover would indeed play a young Lando Calrissian opposite Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo, taking on the role that Billy Dee Williams originated in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
As usual, the studio offered few hints about the context of the characters’ meeting in the movie, but did indicate that Lando would be portrayed “in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld — years before the events involving Han, Leia, and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and his rise to Rebel hero in Return of the Jedi.”
In the official casting announcement, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also confirmed that Lando’s iconic cape would appear in the film — and that it fit Glover perfectly.
Stay tuned, as we’ll be updating this post often with the latest news from the set of the film as it approaches release.
Updated on 02-21-2017 by Rick Marshall: Added cast photo released at start of filming.
Updated on 03-23-2017 by Stephanie Topacio Long: Added new information about Harrelson’s character.