Earlier this week, Lucasfilm officially released the cast photo of the upcoming and as-yet-untitled Han Solo anthology movie. The second Star Wars film to fall outside the three trilogies, the movie will follow a young Han on what will undoubtedly be a series of adventures. Or misadventures. Whichever the case may be.
But upon seeing the cast photo, you may have asked yourself, “Who are these people?” Hopefully, I can shed some light on this.
After what seems like a million people auditioned, the coveted role of young Han went to Alden Ehrenreich (center of photo, in brown leather jacket. Already channeling Harrison Ford perhaps)? However, because I’m completely biased, the best portrayal anyone ever did of a younger character established by Ford was Sean Patrick Flanery of Young Indiana Jones. Like I said, biased. And while many hoped the role would go to Anthony Ingruber, who played a younger Harrison in The Age of Adaline, the powers that be opted for Alden.
But who is he?
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, he was discovered by none other than Steven Spielberg. While Steven’s record isn’t perfect at discovering young talent (I try to forget about Shia Lebeouf and his disparaging comments about the Best Director Ever), he does generally have a knack for seeing someone’s potential. Spielberg saw the young actor in a bat mitzvah video (check out the Conan video where Alden tells the story here) which eventually led to television roles in Supernatural and CSI. Then, Francis Ford Coppola cast him in films and vouched for Alden when Kathleen Kennedy began searching for Han Solo. Spielberg, a longtime friend and collaborator of Kennedy’s, also put in his two cents in support.
Hello. What have we here? Donald Glover’s acting resume is impressive . . . most impressive. Not only was he chosen to be Lando Calrissian, stepping into the role made famous by Billy Dee Williams, but he’s appeared in numerous television shows, movies, and has done voicework. Most recently he’s appeared in Atlanta, a series about the Atlanta rap scene, but he's also appeared in 30 Rock, Girls, played Rich Purnell in The Martian, and he's been cast as the voice of Simba in the live action remake of The Lion King. He's also a recording artist, a comedian, writer, and producer.
Joonas Suotamo is a Finnish basketball player and the new face behind the mask of Chewbacca, everyone’s favorite Wookiee. And Maz Kanata’s boyfriend. Peter Mayhew, who originated the role of the iconic fuzzball, is now retired, and Suotamo worked as a body double for Mayhew on The Force Awakens and will continue work as Chewie in the Han Solo movie and The Last Jedi. He posted a heartfelt message on Twitter in the wake of the official news and said he aspires to make Peter Mayhew proud.
Woody Harrelson entered the realm of science fiction franchises when he portrayed Haymitch in The Hunger Games films, and now he's returned to the genre. There have been many reports that he will be Garris Shrike, a character created by author A.C. Crispin in her Han Solo trilogy, but this has not been confirmed by Lucasfilm. Harrelson himself appears to confirm this in a video, however. His acting credits include the memorable character Woody from the Cheers television series and films White Men Can't Jump, Zombieland, and Indecent Proposal, just to name a few.
And several additional actors have been cast, but no light has been shed on their characters.
Emilia Clarke may be more recognizable as the silver-haired Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, but she can also be found beyond the boundaries of Westeros as a brunette in films Me Before You and Terminator: Genysis.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a young British actress primarily known for the series Fleabag, which “A six-part comedy series adapted from the award-winning play about a young woman trying to cope with life in London whilst coming to terms with a recent tragedy.” (IMDB) The series first aired on BBC Three and is now available through Amazon.
And while not pictured in the cast photo, Thandie Newton has also been chosen for a role in the film. She blew audiences away with her portrayal of a madame with a heart of metal in Westworld as Maeve. She’s also appeared in The Chronicles of Riddick, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Mission: Impossible II. Her resume leads to me to think she may be a bounty hunter or action-oriented character. This is a movie with Han and Lando. There will be bounty hunters. There’s speculation she’ll be Han’s “wife” Sana Starros, but nothing has been confirmed.
With such a group of talented actors, I have high hopes for this film.
The Han Solo movie will jump through hyperspace to theaters on May 25, 2018