Han Solo movie: Potential name leak, new director, Jabba the Hutt rumoured, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • 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

Update: July 4, 2017 - Ron Howard named new director, movie name possibly leaked

It's been an insane month for the Han Solo movie, both on and off set. First a leaked T-shirt design suggested that the film's name will be, very simply, 'Solo'. Bold, brave, and certainly unexpected. Though not as unexpected as the bigger news which followed: co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller departing months into production. Their replacement was quickly and controversially named as Ron 'Da Vinci Code' Howard. Oh, and Jabba the Hutt was apparently confirmed to be in the film, which seems like a footnote compared to those other shenanigans. 

Update: April 18, 2017 - Charity vid reveals Han Solo's first alien

In a recent teaser video for a competition to appear in the Han Solo movie, then-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller teasingly gave a glimpse of an alien. 

This one: 

There's not a lot to go on - that doesn't seem to be any currently known race - but his clothes have a very smugglery feel to them; a fur trimmed long coat and boots? It all screams 'space pirate'. There's a lot of blue screen too, suggesting plenty of effects work, which isn't a huge surprise. There also looks like the hint of a set to the right; just a flat grey wall really, so hard to work out much from that. 

You can watch the full video below but, really, you've seen the best bit already.  

Update: February 22, 2017 - filming kicks off in London

It's official! The Han Solo movie has started filming. It’s all coming together at Pinewood Studios, which also played host to large chunks of The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Filming began on February 20, with Ehrenreich, Glover, Clarke, Harrelson, Waller-Bridge, and Suotamo all on set from day one, as evidenced from the above photo. No, you definitely cannot turn up and ask for a two-minute, unpaid, non-speaking cameo. Especially not you, ‘JJBinks1999’.

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The Han Solo movie is currently in production

Han Solo and Chewbacca are getting their own dedicated movie, and its promising cast and experienced crew suggest it’ll delight in much the same way as precursor Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The film has been planned since 2012, and sees Ron Howard on directorial duties, after the shock departure of Phil Lord and Chris Miller in June 2017. Three of the hottest names in Hollywood have key roles: namely Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, and Emilia Clarke. Lawrence Kasdan – co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens – is once again sharing screenplay duties, this time working in tandem with his son Jon Kasdan. As for its name, a leaked T-shirt design suggests its called 'Solo'.

The Han Solo movie release date will make you do Chewbacca noises

The Han man’s new film forms the middle of three ‘Star Wars Anthology’ films, bridging the aforementioned Rogue One and a standalone 2020 release, of which no details are currently known. The Han Solo movie release date is May 25, 2018, six months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That’s a while off, sure, but nonetheless a welcome break from Star Wars films eating into your Christmas plans. Plus it affords you plenty of free weekends to rewatch the classic flicks for the 27th, 28th, and 29th times. Or, if you’re really looking for ways to ruin a Saturday night, Attack of the Clones for the 2nd time.

Wanna know the release date of every upcoming Star Wars flick? Then point your lightsaber towards the sky in celebration, as GR+ has made you this calendar. Oh God, that’s not what I meant by ‘lightsaber’…

The Han Solo movie plot explains how the Millennium Falcon was won (and more)

How did the galaxy’s deadliest freelancer snare its finest ship? Apparently, and excitingly, all will be explained in the new flick. Series canon says the Millennium Falcon was won from Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc – the physical Mos Eisley equivalent of Hearthstone – but the scene has never before been seen on screen. The Han Solo movie, which is being billed as a space western, should also answer the were-they-weren’t-they question surrounding Solo and fellow smuggler Sana Starros: she claims to have once had his hand in marriage, but he insists otherwise. 

We'll also finally get to see how Han and Chewie first met, and formed the foundations for their space-based bromance.

Jabba the Hutt also looks set to feature, and will apparently be part-CGI, and part-animatronic-puppet. 

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."

The Han Solo movie cast looks brilliant, but poses questions

(Image: © HBO)

Alden Ehrenreich takes the lead role in the new film, while Donald Glover dons the mantle of Billy Dee Williams – his mum’s favourite actor! – as Lando Calrissian. Here's how Ehrenreich is looking on the set of the film, as young Han Solo:

It’s unclear which of the talented actresses signed up to the project will play Sana Starros – if indeed the above rumour is true and she’s in the film at all. The comic books portray her as a strong black woman, which would make the recently confirmed Thandie Newton a potential fit. Yet initial reports – not from GR+ – in November claimed that the role had gone to Emilia Clarke. Based on appearances alone, Daenerys’ real-life alter-ego would be better suited to Bria Tharen, who also had a love-hate relationship with Solo but – in another twist – has more recently been deemed non-canon. Clear as mud, then.

Another possibility for Clarke is a new character known, for now, as simply 'Val', who apparently has top billing and is involved in at least one stunt sequence.

Former basketball player Joonas Suotamo becomes Chewbacca full-time, and recently shared a beautiful tribute to Peter Mayhew – the veteran who has portrayed Star Wars’ iconic Wookie for close to four decades, and shared the part in The Force Awakens.

Other confirmed cast members include Woody Harrelson (yes!) as Garris Shrike, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in a role still to be confirmed, but that’s ‘CGI-driven’ – perhaps Mother Proxima, another new character. That latter snippet of news is hugely exciting. It teases that Waller-Bridge's role will be similar to Alan Tudyk’s as K-S2O in Rogue One, and therefore surely means another memorable droid entering Star Wars lore – and a long overdue female one, at that.

And if neither Newton or Clarke are the actress playing Sana Starros, then it is surely one of these three

The Han Solo movie name isn't Red Cup, but might be Solo

In January, five months before his departure from the project, co-director Chris Miller uploaded a Twitter image of him holding a clapperboard with what appeared to be the movie name on it. It was… Star Wars: Red Cup. Incredibly, some UK newspapers took the bait and reported it as real, when it’s without question no more than the project’s working title. 

A more likely choice, going by Rogue One, would be something far simpler, such as Han Solo: A Star Wars Story or even Millennium Falcon: A Star Wars Story. But a fun Quora thread on this subject also raises some amenable, if unlikely, fan suggestions, such as A Star Wars Story: Flying Solo and Han Solo at Star’s End.

In June, a leaked T-shirt design suggested an even simpler name than all of the above: Solo, with the 'L' in the shape of a gun. Cool.

The Han Solo movie trailer should be coming in 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 after the recent directorial switcheroo. 

The Han Solo movie director is Ron Howard, after two shock departures

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. “Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous”, they said of the opportunity. “We can't think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”

It's likely they feel differently now. The pair left their roles in June 2017, apparently as a result of collaborative differences with writer Lawrence Kasdan. "Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project," said the pair in another, less cheery, statement. "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. That suggests a distinctly serious tone for the movie, far removed from Lord and Miller's laidback style. As GR+ reported, the change wasn't popular on social media.

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. In the meantime, former co-director Chris Miller has at least caused the world to salivate in unison over a single teaser image (above). 

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.

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The Han Solo movie name might have just been accidentally revealed... via a t-shirt

Ron Howard's officially directing the Han Solo movie and people are 100% behind it (they aren't)

Jabba the Hutt will feature in the Han Solo movie story (and he'll be part-CGI/part-puppet)

Two major Han Solo movie characters revealed - but who will be playing them?

This is your first look at young Han Solo on set and in costume

A Han Solo movie sizzle reel allegedly 'impressed' Disney... before its directors were fired

The Han Solo movie casts a young Chewbacca – read his tribute to the original Chewie

Here's your first look at the Han Solo movie cast (plus a breakdown of who's who)

Move over, K-2SO: Han Solo movie will include Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge in a "CGI-driven performance"

The Han Solo movie is filming now, and here's the first picture from the set

Woody Harrelson’s Han Solo movie character is revealed - but who is Garris Shrike?