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?
The UK will get to see the film earlier than many parts of the world, hitting UK cinemas on May 24. It will open a day later in the US on May 25.
Is there a trailer?
Yes: a 45-second teaser aired during the 2018 Super Bowl, and a full trailer followed the next day (February 5).
In the clip, below, Han Solo says: “I’ve been running scams on the street since I was 10. I was kicked out of flight academy for having a mind of my own… I’m going to be a pilot. The best in the galaxy.” Woody Harrelson invites Han and Chewie to be part of a crew, which they agree to. Emilia Clarke’s character, Qi’Ra says “I might be the only person who knows what you really are.” As well as a glimpse of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Emilia Clarke as Qi’Ra and Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, we see Donald Glover as the young Lando Calrissian. There’s still no revelation of who Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character is.
See the first, shorter teaser below:
An international trailer was also released for Japanese audiences, combining footage from the teaser and previous trailor.
A clip from the movie has also been released. In it, Han Solo faces up to Enfys Nest, a pirate who led the Cloud-Riders during the reign of the Galactic Empire. “You see that crater down there?” asks Solo. “You know what’s on it? About 30 hired guns. All I gotta do is give the signal, you’re surrounded.”
Yes: the official Star Wars Twitter and Instagram account has shared the below posters starring Han, Lando, Qi’Ra and Chewie. A further poster was revealed alongside the international trailer in March. French Hachim Bahous has claimed the Star Wars artwork plagiarises his album posters from 2015.
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.”
Are we going to see the famous Kessel Run?
We don’t know yet, but lots of fans think so:
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.
Was Harrison Ford involved?
Yes. Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy says he was there behind the scenes giving advice to Ehrenreich: “What [Ford] did so beautifully for Alden was he talked a lot about what he remembered when he first read Star Wars, and what George had done with Han,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “Who the character was and the conversations he had for so many years with George about how that character developed. He gave Alden that kind of insight which was invaluable. There were several times in the course of making the movie where Alden would actually recount some of the things that Harrison had pointed out. I think that was really, really helpful to him.”
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.
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.”
Who’s behind the script?
Lawrence and Jon Kasdan.
Best known as the co-writer of huge Star Wars films like The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Lawrence Kasdan is also a producer of the Han Solo film. His son, Jon, co-wrote the script with him and has said it was inspired by Heat, Treasure Island and The Coen Brothers’ cult comedy, The Big Lebowski.
He told EW: “[We were] trying to create a crime movie where our character was entering a crime world where there were already dramas in place and relationships and complications, and we have to see him negotiate a lot more rivalries than he is expecting at the beginning of the story. [Solo] has that flavour of a crime world that has weirdness and surprise and people stumbling into things – and other people very intentionally getting into [trouble]. The Big Lebowski is a great example because Solo has a more off-kilter tone than you’ve ever seen in [Star Wars].”
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.
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?
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.
What does Harrison Ford think about another actor playing Han Solo?
Despite saying that he was “not really” looking forward to the Han Solo film, director Ron Howard has since revealed that Ford helped a lot in the creation of the movie.
“Harrison’s a very thoughtful actor and an artist, and I wanted to know what he learned about the character,” Howard said. “He said that Han is always torn between that sense that he was, in a way, an orphan, and therefore both yearned for connection with people and struggled with it at the same time. I thought that was pretty interesting.”
Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy has also confirmed that Ford and Ehrenreich had lunch together to talk about the role.