- "You know, he's younger in this movie and that's fun because you have to imagine him 10 years earlier in his early 20s. What was he like before he hardened up? Before he had some setbacks? Before he put on this cynical coat? What got him there?"
- ―Lawrence Kasdan
Solo: A Star Wars Story is an upcoming stand-alone Star Wars film directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, scheduled for release on May 25, 2018. It stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in the years prior to Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Donald Glover portrays Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo portrays Chewbacca. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge also star.
The film was first announced as a Han Solo picture in 2015, along with the news that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would be the film's directors. Principal photography began in January 2017, after which point creative differences arose between the two directors and the studio. They were replaced by Ron Howard, who was tasked with completing principal photography along with what was reported to be extensive reshoots.
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes.
The earliest incarnation of a live-action depiction of young Han Solo came during the pre-production of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Writer and director George Lucas conceived an idea of Solo as a child on Kashyyyk, with Chewbacca raising the young boy like a son. Solo would have been present during the Battle of Kashyyyk and would have encountered Yoda, helping the Jedi Master discover scraps of a droid that could have aided Yoda in determining the whereabouts of General Grievous. Concept art from Iain McCaig showed the young Solo as a slob, a juxtaposition of the character in his later years. "He's such a persnickety guy later — he always has to have the best of everything," McCaig said in The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, "so I thought it'd be great if when he was a kid, he was an absolute slob." These concepts never made it out of pre-production, and Solo did not appear in Revenge of the Sith—though Chewbacca ultimately did make a cameo appearance during the battle.
After the release of Revenge of the Sith, Lucas began planning a live-action television series called Star Wars: Underworld, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The series, dealing with elements of the criminal underworld, could have included some of Solo's backstory. According to Stephen Scaia, one of the writers of the ultimately unproduced series, the show's writers came up with a story for how Solo met Chewbacca. Another story would have dealt with how Solo first met Lando Calrissian, who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
- "…George had sort of roughed-out many movies—not just the new trilogy but other movies, the spinoffs and things. I wasn't sure I wanted to do anything, but I said, "I could do the Han Solo movie"—because he's my favorite character."
- ―Lawrence Kasdan
Ideas for a young Han Solo film began to percolate in the lead up to The Walt Disney Company's acquisition to Lucasfilm. In October 2012, as Lucas was preparing to sell his company, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy contacted Lawrence Kasdan, writer of The Empire Strikes Back and co-writer of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and asked him to meet her and Lucas to discuss new films in the franchise. Kasdan recounted that Lucas had already come up with some basic ideas for the sequel trilogy and had also come up with the concept of stand-alone films. One of those movies was about young Han Solo, before the events of A New Hope. Kasdan was initially hesitant on being part of the new films, but he decided he could do the Han Solo movie as Solo was his favorite character.
After agreeing to the job, Kasdan was also asked to help develop what would become Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Once he had completed work on that film, Kasdan felt creativly drained, so he asked his son Jon to assist in developing the Han Solo film. While developing their script, they were inspired by Treasure Island, Heat, Unforgiven and various films by the Cohen brothers. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were hired to direct. Several thousand actors auditioned for the part of Solo, before Alden Ehrenreich was officially announced during Celebration Europe. Ehrenreich (and later, Ron Howard) met with Harrison Ford to discuss the character, and Lucasfilm sent Ford a copy of the script for his approval.
- "I think in terms of us leaving the project, I think everybody went in with really good intentions and our approach to making the movie was different than theirs. That was a really big gap to bridge, and it proved to be too big."
- ―Phil Lord
Principal photography began in January 2017, with a working title of "Star Wars: Red Cup." By March, a film crew was present in Fuerteventura, Spain. One of the three rewards in the 2017 Force for Change fundraiser was a role in the film.
On June 20, 2017, Lucasfilm announced that directors Lord and Miller were departing from the project due to creative differences and that a new director would be announced soon. Entertainment Weekly reported that Lord and Miller encouraged an improvisational style on set, which Lucasfilm insiders believed was moving the film away from the vision crafted by the Kasdans in their script and ended up significantly changing the story. Lucasfilm believed that these apparent issues could be fixed during reshoots, but Lord and Miller were reportedly reluctant to significantly alter their approach to the film. As a result, Kennedy made the decision to remove Lord and Miller from the production.
On June 22, it was announced by Lucasfilm that Ron Howard would take over directorial duties for the film. Howard had worked on three previous Lucasfilm projects: 1973's American Graffiti, 1979's More American Graffiti and 1988's Willow (which starred Star Wars veteran Warwick Davis, who also makes a cameo in the Han Solo film). After the announcement, Howard said that he had been a fan of Star Wars since the beginning and that he found it "gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the [Star Wars] universe." Michael Kenneth Williams was originally cast in the film but was unavailable for the reshoots, so he was replaced by Paul Bettany. George Lucas visited the set at one point, and helped direct a scene. On October 14, it was announced that screenwriter Jon Kasdan and first assistant director Toby Hefferman would portray Tag and Bink, two characters that first appeared in the Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse Comics.
On October 17, Ron Howard confirmed that production had wrapped up, and he officially announced the title of the film would be Solo: A Star Wars Story. By March 30, 2018, the editing and score were finished; John Powell composed the score and John Williams contributed a new theme.
Marketing and releaseEdit
Solo: A Star Wars Story will debut at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2018, and is scheduled for wide release on May 25 (the 41st anniversary of the release of A New Hope, in which Harrison Ford first appeared as Han Solo). A TV spot aired during Super Bowl LII, followed by a full teaser trailer the next day and the release of a series of character-themed teaser posters; The release of the latter prompted a complaint from a French artist, Hachim Bahous, that the design of the posters was a plagiarization of a series of covers he designed for Sony Music for French album releases. A side-by-side post demonstrated that the posters and covers feature nearly identical colorization for both the background and character/album names, as well as a similar font. The film was spotlighted in the February 2018 issue of Entertainment Weekly. A theatrical trailer and poster were released on April 8, with the former debuting during American Idol.
Lucasfilm arranged Solo licensing deals with Denny's, Esurance, General Mills, Nissan, Solo Cup Company and Symantec. Denny's aired a commercial that utilized props, characters and a set from the film. The French car company Renault also aired an ad showcasing the film's train sequence. The Solo merchandise line debuted in stores on April 13.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Solo: A Star Wars Story on Wikipedia