- Han Solo movie release date: May 25, 2018
- Director: Ron Howard
- Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton
- Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, Jon Kasdan
The Han Solo movie plot will answer questions about the nerf herder’s origins
While there's still no firm plot for Han Solo movie yet, the parts are slowly coming together and we're learning more about key scenes and how the young smuggler's story might be taking shape.
For example, we know a race scene is important, thanks to shots of speeders and Han Solo's original trilogy gloves. We also know for sure the film will show how Han gets the Millennium Falcon which will sport a newer, just-made freight hauler appearance.
We'll also find out more about the people in Solo's life. Like Woody Harrelson, who's playing a character called Beckett, pitched as part father figure/part criminal mentor and likely responsible for setting Han on his smuggler’s path. Obviously we'll see how he became friends with Chewie and Lando Calrissian (played by Donald Glover). There’s even rumours Jabba the Hutt will appear, suggesting we might find out about one of the biggest beefs in galactic history.
The most coherent but completely unsubstantiated break down so far assembles the story like this: the movie starts with Solo as a teen racing speeders on Corellia. This tweet confirms the planet's in the movie at least, and it looks like just the sort of dive a young scoundrel would want to leave.
From there Han somehow ends up in the galactic war, joining the Empire where he meets Woody Harrelson's Beckett. That might be the scene director Ron Howard's hinting at here:
From there the pair are arrested and thrown into the Kessel Spice mines after refusing to do something bad. This is where it's rumoured Solo meets Chewbacca before escaping. It's at this point Lando and the Falcon allegedly appears, involving some work for the new and upcoming smuggler. This tweet certainly suggests smuggling will be happening:
Basically, almost every element of the character looks like it’s getting explained in some way. Some of the really early teasers even specifically picked out Han's iconic blaster, suggesting that might even get a bit of backstory.
Whatever the plot, The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan has written the script (along with his son Jon), adding an extra layer of authenticity. Kasdan specifically took on the project because he likes the character so much and hopefully that love will show in the story.
More recently director Ron Howard as been teasing that one of the franchises' biggest foes will play a part, somehow.
That's an Imperial Navy helmet, most famously seen by people operating the Deathstar. While most people have jumped on the idea that the Deathstar will somehow appear in the movie, it's worth pointing out that this is part of a basic uniform - it's not exclusively a Deathstar thing. Given the rumours that Solo joins the war as an Imperial, that could even be his uniform - with the idea of Han joining up to get away from Corellia (which looks like a dump) mirroring Luke ambitions in A New Hope. This shot of an R2 unit repurposed as a handy fire barrel certainly give the planet a hobo truckstop vibe.
As well as the already mentioned Corellia and Kessel, other planets rumoured to appear are Iridium, Savareen and Vandor - suggesting the film could move around quite a bit.
The Han Solo movie’s release date is next year
Despite the shock departure of the Han Solo movie’s original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, new director Ron Howard is still planning to hit the May 25, 2018 release date Disney set. That means it’ll appear only five months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There had been several rumours of a delay to Christmas 2018 before production even started, however, since filming began that May date has stayed rock solid, even with some major production woes. That said, Disney have a history of giving the UK a slightly earlier release date for all it’s recent Marvel and Star Wars films so don’t be surprised if the date changes closer to release.
The Han Solo movie cast looks brilliant, but poses questions
Alden Ehrenreich takes the lead role in the film and here’s how he’s looking on the set of the film as a young Han Solo:
Hair game? On point.
Donald Glover is playing Lando, stepping into the shoes of Billy Dee Williams – his mum’s favourite actor, and it looks like there's a few style changes afoot if Lando's new beard is anything to go by:
Another familiar face will play a big role Joonas Suotamo becomes Chewbacca full-time after sharing the role with Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens (Suotamo shared a beautiful tribute to Mayhew after officially taking on the part full time). As you might hope Chewie looks to be playing a big part in the Han Solo movie, as we've seen several behind the scenes shots of him in action:
Other characters include Woody Harrelson playing a new character called Bennet, Solo’s mentor and likely a father figure. Westworld’s Thandie Newton and Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke also have prominent parts. Clarke will reportedly be playing a character called Kira (or possible Kura). Leaked footage and photos of her character suggests she could be some sort of nobility, or wealthy character as she's been seen on set in some very Princess Leia style floaty robes.
Then there's the rumoured part of Han’s wife, Sana Starros. That character is black in the original canon, making Newton a likely call if it's a prominant part. Although Tessa Thompson, Zoe Kravitz, and Naomi Scott have all allegedly read for an unspecified part. They're all perfect fits for Starros’ appearance and could suggest it's a smaller role.
Also heading up the female cast is Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She’s rumoured to be playing a droid, possibly a character called Mother Proxima, although that character is apparently a puppet and Waller-Bridge’s part is supposed to be CGI.
Finally, appearing in yet more unconfirmed roles are Sing Streets’ Ian Kenny, Star Wars stalwart Warwick Davis and director Ron Howard’s brother Clint, maintaining a tradition of always getting a cameo role in Ron’s movies. Sadly though, The Wire’s Michael K. Williams has fallen foul of the movie's production woes. Scheduling conflicts mean he's been unable to make the Ron Howard directed reshoots and, as a result, his character has been cut entirely from the film. However, Paul Bettany has been recast in the reshoots and the talk is his role is some sort of replacement for Williams. There's some uncertainty as to whether he's playing the same half animal character that Williams was reported to be playing, or something entirely. Some reports say his part will be completely human.
The Han Solo movie trailer should be coming late 2017
Heartbreaker: for now, there isn’t one. Bigger heartbreaker: we may yet be waiting a while. Rogue One’s first trailer was released in April 2016, eight months before the film’s upcoming release date. We got the first Force Awakens trailer in a slightly swifter fashion: in November 2014, 13 months before it hit cinemas. If those films are anything to go by, then, our first glimpse of young Solo strutting his stuff on celluloid will be between now and September 2017. One small bit of semi-related news: apparently a secret sizzle reel for the film does exist, and has impressed Disney bosses. Sadly, that's unlikely to be made public anytime soon, especially after the recent directorial changes.
The Han Solo movie director has changed… a lot
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the partnership behind 21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, were announced as co-directors in July 2015, and sounded like a great fit for the project. However, the pair left their roles in June 2017 - a shock departure apparently resulting from collaborative differences with writer Lawrence Kasdan. Rumour has it the directors improvisational approach clashed heavily with the writers’ scripted (literally) ideals.
"Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project," said the two directors following their departure. "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."
Their replacement was swiftly named as Ron Howard, the man who helmed The Da Vinci Code and A Beautiful Mind - a change that wasn't popular on social media. What’s even more interesting is that Howard took on the movie six months into filming, saying “it’s gratifying to be able to lend my voice to the universe – coming in when it’s already been in production and there is a great amount of work done.”
However, it's since been revealed that the completed Han Solo movie is nearly all reshoots. Rather than come in and finish the movie reports suggest Ron Howard has essentially filmed a whole new film from scratch. It sounds like whatever initial directors Lord and Miller created has been all but replaced. That would explain why some actors like Michael K. Williams have been cut entirely. However, Thandie Newtons claims 90% of her Solo work was completed with Lord and Miller and that the final cut will be a team effort: “I love Phil and Chris — everybody loves Phil and Chris — they’re so brilliant. Ron and the guys were talking to each other. As far as I’m concerned what’s on screen, in the end, is going to be an amazing collaboration."
The Han Solo movie poster... isn’t ready yet
Again, if you’re whamming F5 right now, you’re going to be reloading this page for some time yet. Expect the first Han Solo movie poster to emerge in the spring of 2018.
That doesn’t mean we’re short of imagery though as both previous directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and current helmer Ron Howard, have been very generously in teasing out set images:
And even footage of the movie’s aliens hanging around the stage:
The Han Solo movie trilogy may be a thing
A tantalising scrap of additional news emerged in July 2016, with the revelation that Alden Ehrenreich’s deal covers not just the 2018 Han Solo movie, but two further films. “Given that Han’s early adventures do not need to be tied to the Empire, it leaves story lines open with the opportunity to really give fans what they want,” an insider reportedly told the New York Daily News. Going by Episodes 7, 8, and 9 time frames, that would potentially give us Han Solo 2 with a release date of summer 2020, and Han Solo 3 in the summer of 2022.
The Han Solo movie plot is still a mystery
We know almost nothing about the main plot of the movie, other than it stars a young Solo and definitely see him winning the Millennium Falcon and making friends with Chewie.
The official announcement for the movie summed the synopsis up with this:
"The movie will explore the duo’s adventures before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, including their early encounters with that other card-playing rogue from a galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian."
We also know the film will take place about 10 years before A New Hope, which is roughly equidistant between that film and the prequel trilogy.
Whatever it ends up being about, we have one important approval - Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig says he’s seen the script, and it’s outstanding: "By far the best Star Wars script, and one of the best scripts period, that I have ever read. I laughed, I cried, I did all the things you should do when reading a good script. You’re in for a treat."
It does look like the movie will be playing with some familiar feeling locations though with Howard teasing out an "intense action scene" in what looks a lot like a Mos Eisley style cantina, just the sort of dive we'd expect Han to grow up in.
We've also seen shots of speeders racing around studio lots and this new tweet gives us a glimpse inside:
The two things to note here are the glorious retro dashboard and those gloves. They're an exact reproduction of a pair Solo wore in the original Star Wars movie which is a nice little touch.
The Millennium Falcon will look a bit different in the Han Solo movie
You can't do a Han Solo movie without the Falcon. But it looks like we might be seeing the ship in its glory days, fresh out of the shop. There's talk the Millennium Falcon will be sporting a fresh like of paint, with white and blue detailing. That shot up there is from the Clone Wars and gives a hint of what we could expect.
There's also talk that we could see the ship in its original cargo hauling role. That distinctive front end isn't just a design flourish, it's how the ship moves freight around as this concept image shows:
The Han Solo movie title is... ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’
When Phil Lord and Chris Miller first started the project they tweeted out an image which confirmed a working title of ‘Red Cup.’
However, ‘Solo’ was outed as a stand alone title pretty quickly thanks to crew shirts:
Even Woody Harrelson was seen wearing the shirt, although he stated on the Stephen Colbert show that this was still a working title.
But, now, that leaked title is confirmed. Replacement director Ron Howard made the announcement once filming had wrapped.