Solo: A Star Wars Story - Everything you need to know

Hugh Armitage, Rosie Fletcher

From Digital Spy

Disney might have kicked off its '...A Star Wars Story' series with Rogue One in 2016, but we know what you're really waiting for is the Han Solo movie that will follow it.

Well, unless your name is Harrison Ford.

The filmmakers have their work cut out for them, taking us back into the past of the galaxy's favourite smuggler. Here's everything you need to prepare yourself for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer – I know what you really are

Our first look at Solo came at Super Bowl 2018 with a teaser that didn't quite reveal our new Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich.

It was followed close behind with the first full trailer, that hints at Han's origins and a shared past between him and Emilia Clarke's Qi'Ra.

Solo: A Star Wars Story release date – May the 25th be with you

The film was announced to have a global release date of May 25, five months after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The UK will now get the film one day earlier, on May 24.

We're still a bit surprised that the date never slipped after Episode 8 was pushed back from May to December 2017. December 2018 will be the first Christmas without a Star Wars movie since 2015.

Solo: A Star Wars Story actor – 1 in 2,500

It was going to be no easy feat to find an actor worthy of stepping into Harrison Ford's boots, and Disney was well aware of this. Reports are that over 2,500 actors auditioned for the chance to don the classic boots-and-vest costume.

Those hundreds were whittled down to a shortlist featuring Miles Teller, Dave Franco, Logan Lerman, Jack Reynor, Ansel Elgort, Scott Eastwood, Emory Cohen and Blake Jenner. And then another shortlist apparently featuring Reynor, Cohen, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) – two of which had not been mentioned in relation to the role before anyway.

And finally, Ehrenreich has won out, with reports that he impressed Disney and Lucasfilm confirmed at Star Wars Celebration in London.

Photo credit: Lucasfilm/Getty/Digital Spy

That's bad luck for the internet's favourite Ford impersonator, Anthony Ingruber, perhaps. We're not sure we rate his Han impression, but the resemblance is uncanny.

Solo: A Star Wars Story cast – All the stars in the galaxy

Community's Donald Glover was long tipped to play a young Lando Calrissian – a casting choice we would be *more* than happy with – and that has finally been confirmed. It was his destiny, apparently, and the rumour is that the film will show just how Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando in the first place.

Glover has been making some serious sacrifices for the role, so we hope you appreciate it. He's also been hanging out with original Lando actor Billy Dee Williams, which was probably more enjoyable.

And Joonas Suotamo, a Finnish-born basketball player who worked as Peter Mayhew's double on The Force Awakens - and is also expected to appear in The Last Jedi - will play Chewie in the Han Solo movie.

"Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film," he said, "and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookiee has spread so much joy across the globe.

"Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."

Cheers legend (or Hunger Games star, if you will) Woody Harrelson is also on board as Beckett, "a mentor to Han" and "also a bit of a criminal".



Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is on board to play a droid called L3-37. Sing Street's Ian Kenny has an unknown role and Thandie Newton will play Val, who seems to be another ally of Han's. The Wire's Michael K Williams was cast, but has apparently been cut from the movie by director Ron Howard, who brought Paul Bettany on board instead.

There's a theory going around that the female lead could be Sana Starros, a woman introduced in Marvel's Star Wars comics who claimed to be Han's wife, which the reported shortlist of young actresses of colour seems to support. Chewbacca's wife Malla may also have been spotted in a set photo.

Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke is also on board as a character apparently called Qi'Ra, who has a shared past with our hero, although we don't know much more about her yet besides she has a very attractive cloak.

Christian Bale won't be in the film – but there were talks between him and Lucasfilm, and he sounds very keen to make something happen in a later film.

Solo: A Star Wars Story director – 11th hour switcheroo

Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian - Getty Images

Disney has been roping in a broad lineup of talented (though admittedly white, straight, male) directors to tackle their endlessly expanding new slate of Star Wars movies.

And taking the director's chair this time around were going to be Phil Lord and Chris Miller, best known for the Jump Street films and The Lego Movie.

Not only were they more than capable of bringing more of the wit and comedy that made Star Wars fun again in The Force Awakens, but they already had a practice run with some of the characters from a galaxy far, far away thanks to Lego's weirdly diverse licensing.

But on June 20, while midway through production, the surprising news broke that Lord and Miller had LEFT the project. In separate statements, Lucasfilm and the directors blamed "creative differences" (yep, that old cliché). We didn't see that coming.

Photo credit: NBC Universal/Nathan Congleton - Getty Images

In record time, Disney has signed veteran director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Rush, The Da Vinci Code) to take over the half-completed production.





Reports vary as to just how much of the film he reshot, but it sounds like it could have been quite a bit.

Lord and Miller will be credited as executive producers.

Solo: A Star Wars Story writers – We're in safe hands

Photo credit: WireImage / John Sciulli - Getty Images

A familiar name is coming back to tackle the script for the movie. That would be Lawrence Kasdan, who worked on The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, remaining blissfully unaffiliated with the prequels. It's also set to be his final outing in George Lucas's sandbox.

Having also worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark, there's no denying that Kasdan has a good handle on Han Solo and Harrison Ford. Good choice, Disney.

He will be joined by his son Jon Kasdan, whose credits are inevitably less impressive, but include writing on Dawson's Creek as well as a recurring role in Californication.

On the music front, John Williams is back to write Solo's theme.

Solo: A Star Wars Story plot – A smuggler is born

Photo credit: Lucasfilm

It will come as absolutely no surprise at this point that details on the movie are light (and even lighter than they are for Rogue One and Episode 8), although it has actually been rumoured to be a trilogy rather than just one film.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said the film "moves closer to a heist or Western type feel".

"We've talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colours that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film."

This is a story of a young, pre-New Hope Han, so it seems unlikely that Chewbacca won't be showing his hairy face in the film. Whether – like Chewie in Revenge of the Sith they will try to tie the young smuggler's backstory more closely with the bigger Star Wars legend is a very good question.

Lawrence Kasdan has given us some vague hints as to the shape of the story. "It will not be like here is where he was born and this is how he was raised," he told Empire.

"I think what it will be is what was he like ten years earlier, you know maybe a little earlier you'll get a glimpse but... what formed the person we meet in the cantina? It is not so much about his specific history. It is about what makes a person like that? He's not full formed in the cantina!"

We did say it was vague.

Howard has hinted that we might see the legendary Kessel Run Han bragged about in A New Hope.



And could we perhaps see Han winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian and maybe making some unfortunate deals with Jabba the Hutt? Kasdan says... maybe.

The film's villain is rumoured to be Enfys Nest, leader of a Cloud-Rider gang.

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