Solo: A Star Wars Story – release date, trailer, news and everything you need to know

The Han Solo spin-off is coming this year

In 2016, Rogue One kicked off the Star Wars Anthology film series, and it’ll continue this year with a film centring on the young Han Solo. Here’s everything you need to know about the next big blockbuster from far, far away.

When is Solo: A Star Wars Story out?

May 25, 2018.

Is there a trailer?

Not yet – it was expected to arrive yesterday (January 15), but has reportedly been delayed.

What’s the plot?

Lucasfilm have shared a first plot summary. It reads: “Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy.

“Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.”

Who’s playing Han?

Over 3,000 actors auditioned to play Han Solo in Disney’s upcoming Star Wars spin-off film focusing on the iconic character’s younger years, but it was 26-year-old Alden Ehrenreich – a rising star, but not a household name yet – who bagged the massive role in July 2016. Here’s everything you need to know about the man stepping into Harrison Ford’s shoes.

Perhaps wisely given his impending superstardom, he isn’t on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Ehrenreich was raised in L.A. to parents who are big film buffs but not “in the biz”. His mum’s an interior designer; his stepdad’s an orthodontist.

Ehrenreich studied acting at New York University but never actually finished his degree. During his time in the Big Apple, he founded his own acting company and they’d perform self-penned material in downtown bars and intimate theatre spaces. He made his movie debut in 2009’s Tetro, a well-received but little-seen drama from legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. Reviewing the movie at the time, revered film critic Roger Ebert called Ehrenreich “the new Leonardo DiCaprio”.

He also appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s 2011 horror movie Twixt and, very briefly, in Sofia Coppola’s 2010 indie hit Somewhere. He’s also worked with Woody Allen, playing the stepson of Cate Blanchett’s character in 2013’s Blue Jasmine. His biggest role to date came in the Coen Brothers’ recent comedy Hail, Caesar!, in which he stole scenes as fictional B-movie actor Hobie Doyle. Watch Ehrenreich’s character learning his lines (badly) with Ralph Fiennes’ pretentious film director below.

Who else is in the cast?

  • Donald Glover, who created and stars in Atlanta, plays the young Lando Calrissian.
  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones‘ Daenerys Targaryen, plays a brand-new character called Qi’Ra, about whom we know nothing yet.
  • Woody Harrelson plays another new character called Tobias Beckett, described as a criminal, and Han’s mentor.
  • Paul Bettany is involved in an as-yet unnamed role.
  • Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge will also play a hitherto unknown character, though it’s rumoured it’s a CGI-based role – possibly like Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO in Rogue One.
  • Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo took over the role of Chewbacca in The Last Jedi and will reprise it here.
  • Thandie Newton and Warwick Davis are also rumoured to be involved somehow.
  • Reports suggest Darth Vader may appear in the new film too.

Who’s directing?

Ron Howard – though he wasn’t actually Lucasfilm’s first choice.

In June 2017 the Beautiful Mind director replaced the film’s original helmsmen – The Lego Movie‘s Phil Lord and Chris Miller – who were fired from the project after reportedly experiencing “deep fundamental differences” with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

According to one fansite the directors’ “screwball comedy angle” was “starting to interfere with what the character of Han Solo is really about”, and Alden Ehrenreich’s portrayal of a young Han Solo was described in the report as being “oddly comparable to Jim Carrey’s performance in Ace Ventura at times”.

The directors said in a statement: “Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”

They later said in an interview: “In terms of us leaving the project, I think everybody went in with really good intentions and our approach to making the movie was different than theirs. That was a really big gap to bridge, and it proved to be too big. Sometimes people break up, and it’s really sad, and it’s really disappointing, but it happens and we learned a lot from our collaborators and we’re better filmmakers for it.”

What do we know from the set?

Not a huge amount, but Ron Howard has posted many clues, which confirm the presence of droids, the Empire, and a good bit of alien food too.

Working on a Saturday here in the Galaxy

A post shared by RealRonHoward (@realronhoward) on

Shooting a scene about desperate and dangerous times.

A post shared by RealRonHoward (@realronhoward) on

Droids & people working together Yes there will be droids in #UntitledHanSoloMovie

A post shared by RealRonHoward (@realronhoward) on

Who wrote the script?

Lawrence Kasdan.

Best known as the co-writer of huge Star Wars films like The Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Kasdan is also a producer of the Han Solo film.

How will Solo connect to the original Star Wars trilogy?

It’s as-yet unknown, but as it’s set prior to 1977’s original film, A New Hope, we can surmise Han and his crew will be taking on the early days of the Empire in some form – and as a standalone film, it doesn’t really have to connect to the other films in the way Rogue One chose to.

Has it finished shooting?

Yes.

Ron Howard shared this clip when the film wrapped in October 2017.

“Well,” he said, “as we wrap up production I just want to take this moment to thank an incredibly talented cast and crew for all their hard work, and to the fans out there, I hope you’ve been enjoying the pictures, pictures that I’ve taken from the set of… can we even say the name of the movie?” He then revealed the name (Solo: A Star Wars Story) on a board, before adding: “I’ll see you next year.”

Is John Williams scoring the film?

Some of it. 

Although Williams has kept scoring Star Wars‘ Skywalker Saga with the new trilogy, he did not take part in 2016’s Rogue One, which was scored by Michael Giacchino. Williams will write the theme for 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, but the majority of it will be scored by John Powell, who’s best known for scoring animated films like Shrek and the excellent How To Train Your Dragon, for which he received Oscar and BAFTA nominations.