To paraphrase Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”: “Ah, but Han was so much older then, he’s younger than that now…”
As Star Wars fans await The Force Awakens to discover what became of Han Solo in the years since Return of the Jedi, there’s another question being asked at Lucasfilm: What happened to him in the years before we met him in that Mos Eisley cantina?
Even as Harrison Ford suits up to reprise the character again this December, a young Han Solo movie is in the works and is already scheduled for release on May 25, 2018.
Here’s what everyone knows so far: It will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, and the 21 Jump Street comedies. And the script will be penned by both Lawrence Kasdan, who worked on The Force Awakens (as well as The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and his son Jon, who directed and wrote 2012’s The First Time and was a writer on the TV series Freaks and Geeks.
No actor has been hired yet, and they’re aren’t even close in that department. There’s plenty more we don’t know, too — both about the movie, and the history of Solo. So as EW reported on The Force Awakens, we had to ask Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for an update.
A young Han Solo film sounds like a no-brainer to pull off, but it’s actually an extremely tricky maneuver. If Ford is finally back as the character in the new trilogy, there’s potential to confuse the pop-culture hive-mind by introducing an apparent reboot: Han Solo — again — but this time played by a younger actor in a different story. Lucasfilm has to avoid crossing those wires, and they also have to ask: How much should remain a mystery about the smuggler’s past?
“Those are exactly the questions we’re asking,” Kennedy says. “There’s got to be a reason for [the stand-alone film] to be. And obviously the thing that Star Wars has always done so well is it doesn’t spend a lot of time [explaining] the stories that have come before. We don’t want to do that either. We don’t want to spend time going back and answering a lot of questions that, quite frankly, I don’t think people want answered.”
LAUGH IT UP, FUZZBALL
So what do people want to know? And what’s the best way to present that?
“I think the key here is that we are identifying an event or events in Han Solo’s life that gives you some idea of who he is and why he is the character we have all grown to love,” Kennedy says.
A huge part of Solo’s appeal is that he’s a wise-ass in an otherwise solemn struggle between good and evil. He’s the skeptic, the troublemaker. So although the script is still in flux, fans should expect something along the lines of an adventure comedy.
“You can imagine, given who we’ve chosen to come in and direct, it should be very entertaining and funny,” Kennedy says. “Han Solo is the character inside Star Wars that everybody knows has a wit and sense of humor. So that’s what this should be.”
Although Kennedy couldn’t talk about details of the story, it’s clear it could involve a lot of figures we already know: Chewbacca, of course, Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hutt, and even Greedo. (If there’s not an argument between the two about who shot something first, the movie is missing a trick.) The Star Wars comics being made now by Marvel, which are considered canon, are also adding surprising facets to Solo’s past — including the fact that he has a wife.
But there are still other questions fans have, among them…
Next Page: Exactly how young will young Han Solo be?