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Han Solo will play a role in The Last Jedi, and other Star Wars news

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Welcome to your latest round-up of essential Star Wars news. Here's what's been putting the hyper in hyper-drive.

Han Solo will feature in The Last Jedi

Not physically of course: Harrison Ford's space cowboy was despatched by seething, vengeful son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in The Force Awakens. However director Rian Johnson says Solo will still have an important role to play.

"Han, the ghost of — well, not literally,” Johnson starts to tell EW before correcting himself: "I don’t want to misguide. I have to be very careful with my words here. But a figurative ghost of Han had to be present throughout this entire film."

Can we expect to see that rebellious spirit coursing through aspiring Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley)? In order to become one with the Force she will have to master her feelings but given Solo became something of a father figure to her, we expect his legacy to feature prominently.


Mark Hamill struggled with Luke's arc

The trailer for The Last Jedi has teased Rey's training under the damaged Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). After years of isolation on Ahch-To following Kylo Ren's betrayal, Luke believes it's "time for the Jedi to end".

That's a pretty drastic turnaround for the hero of the original trilogy and Hamill himself has said that he struggled to come to terms with Luke's darker motivations.

"The fact that Luke says, ‘I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end…’ I mean, that’s a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films," he tells EW, adding: "When I first read it, my jaw dropped. What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That’s not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing."


George Lucas continues to exert influence

Ironically enough given he's the father of the franchise, many rejoiced when Lucas stepped aside from the Star Wars universe.

He sold the Lucasfilm rights to Disney back in 2012 and paved the way for a nostalgia-infused new trilogy that would evoke the originals whilst avoiding the mistakes of the prequels. However George may have had more of a role in The Last Jedi...

"[George Lucas will] whisper in my ear every now and then," producer Kathleen Kennedy tells EW. "Usually it’s something specific or important to him about Jedi training. Things like that".

However Kennedy says Lucas is still an active participant in the saga's ongoing journey: "I think he’s starting to settle into this and just be a fan. It’s taken a while. It’s hard to let go, after 40 years. That’s a lot of expectation and things he thought a lot about. Suddenly that next generation, that whole thematic idea he came up with, is in process."


Finn goes undercover

Not much is known about Finn's role in The Last Jedi at this stage. However we do know he forms an important partnership with resistance fighter Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and, as can be seen in the below tweeted image, is about to go seriously clandestine on us, infiltrating the First Order by wearing one of their uniforms.


"Well, it's like imagine you work at McDonald's," Boyega explains to IGN. "You push your manager into a chute compactor and then a year later you decide to go back dressed as one of the colleagues. It's not the best situation. There's a lot of chasing, there's a mission that needs to be completed but that isn't necessarily something that doesn't come without a fight and it's something that he's gonna have to face for himself.

He adds: "But it was fun for me. I always wanted to go undercover. Star Wars undercover is different because you wear a hat and all of a sudden no one recognizes you. ... I'd be thinking to myself walking in one of those scenes, isn't anyone gonna go, 'Wait, isn't that Finn?' Do you know what I mean? But such is the magic of Star Wars. It's fun. It's fun to do. It's cool".


Ron Howard unleashes the fanboy with new Han Solo screenshot

The spin-off Solo movie is gathering steam under the guidance of new director Ron Howard. And he totally tapped into our collective nostalgia by Instagramming the following image, one showing a Death Star trooper's helmet placed atop a blinky lighty console thing.

Whilst we rub our hands together in glee, the questions start to mount up. This film will take place way before the events of A New Hope and consequently Rogue One, the latter of which introduced us to the newly destructive capabilities of the Empire's deadly weapon. Are we therefore about to see the conceptual genesis of the Death Star?

Starring Alden Ehrenreich as young Solo and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the movie is due for release on 25th May 2018.