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Everything we know so far about the Han Solo movie


So how exactly did the young Han Solo turn into a cynical, unkempt, nerf-herder, smuggler and thief? All is soon to be revealed in the standalone Han Solo movie, which is due for release next May.

Here's what we know so far.

This will be the second standalone Star Wars 'anthology' movie

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the first of the standalone stories unfolding within George Lucas's Star War universe, loosely connected to, but not directly crossing over with, the main trilogies.

Back in 2015, Lucasfilm revealed that these would be referred to as Star Wars Anthology films.

It's an origin story

Pitched as a 'space western', the Han Solo flick is set roughly a decade before the first Star Wars movie. It explores the events that led the young Solo to become the sarcastic rogue whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley.

Earlier this year it was also confirmed that Chewbacca will have a role in the film, which means there's the lip-smacking prospect of finding out more about Han Solo's early friendship with the Wookiee sidekick who became his co-pilot.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has also revealed that the film will cover six years in Han Solo's life, from ages 18-24, and show how he acquired the shiny new Millennium Falcon (in a card game with Lando Calrissian, as you'll recall from The Empire Strikes Back).

The casting (see below) suggests his relationship with his dodgy criminal mentor Beckett will form a key part of the story. 

There's no title yet

Don't let the internet persuade you otherwise. Many titles have been bandied about, from Red Cup to the rather obvious Han Solo: A Star Wars Story. But officially, the film still doesn't have a title.

Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo

Taking on the iconic role that Harrison Ford made his own is the 27-year-old star of Beautiful Creatures.

Alden Ehrenreich's breakthrough came with the Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar!, for which he was singled out for praise by many critics and nominated for multiple awards.

The rest of the cast is pretty tasty too

Woody Harrelson was among the first to sign up, and it later emerged that he would play the orphaned Solo's underworld mentor, Beckett.

Actor/comedian/musician Donald Glover is on board as Solo's caped comrade Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke, who rose to fame as Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, is likely to be the female lead as a new character named Kira.

Joonas Suotamo is back as Chewbacca, having played the role in The Force Awakens and the upcoming The Last Jedi while Westworld star Thandie Newton also has an unspecified part.

Farewell Lord and Miller... 

To say the film has had a bumpy ride would be an under-statement.

It was all smiles back in July 2015 when the Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were revealed as co-directors of the Han Solo movie.

"This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with," they enthused in a joint statement. "We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us."

The father and son writing team of Lawrence and Jon Kasdan were equally enthusiastic about the co-dreictors: “They’re two of the smartest, funniest and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy.”

“It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task," added producer Kathleen Kennedy. "Chris and Phil will bring their wit, style, energy and heart to tell Han’s story.”

Back in June of this year, Lucasfilm fired Lord and Miller. Officially, the usual 'creative differences' were cited. However, reports suggested that they'd fallen out with the Kasdans for deviating from the script, had incurred the ire of Kennedy for not shooting enough takes, and clashed with Lucasfilm over the film's comedic tone.

"The firing sent shockwaves around Hollywood and beyond as the movie was about three-quarters through principal photography and the replacement of a director at that stage is near-unprecedented," noted The Hollywood Reporter.

…enter Ron Howard

Let's face it: you don't get a safer pair of hands than Ron, who was drafted in to complete the final three-and-a-half weeks of shooting, plus five weeks of reshoots.

How many changes the In the Heart of the Sea and Rush director is making remains to be seen, but he's kept fans happy with a stream of tantalising tweets from the set.

The latest of these hinted that we might finally get to see Han Solo's famous Kessel Run, which has long been a source of controversy among Star Wars enthusiasts.

In the very first Star Wars movie, Han Solo claimed that he could fly the Kessel Eun – using a hyperspace route to transport spice from the mines of Kessel – in fewer than 12 parsecs.

It's often been held that this would be impossible using the Millennium Falcon. Now, perhaps, we'll learn the truth – or otherwise – of Solo's boast.

There's also the possibility that Jabba the Hutt might turn up. But that, like so much else, is just speculation at this stage…

Some of Howard's chums are there to keep him company

Busy Michael K. Williams recently had to drop out because scheduling difficulties meant he was unavailable for the extensive reshoots.

Ron Howard moved quickly to cast his old mate Paul Bettany, with whom he worked on A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code. But there's confusion over whether Bettany is a direct replacement for Williams, with some sources asserting that they play different characters.

Another old chum of Howard, who has a long history of involvement with the Star Wars franchise, is Warwick Davis. You won't need reminding that Howard also directed him in 1988's Willow, which was based on a story by a certain George Lucas.

Well, he's also in the Han Solo movie. The latest rumours suggest he'll be playing a power droid named 'Fight Droid 2'. Needless to say, there's no confirmation of this. Or of whatever happened to Fight Droid 1…

The Han Solo movie arrives in 2018. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, meanwhile, hits Cineworld on 15 December 2017.