With The Force Awakens just over six months away from release, and the first of the new Star Wars anthology films already filming, details are starting to come to light on the next projects in the universe from Lucasfilm. We know that Rian Johnson is currently writing and getting ready to shoot Episode VIII, and it’ll feature the new characters played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac. The presumption is also that many of the original characters will be back as well, but who will will be will be determined once we see the new film in December. That’s almost everything we know about what’s to come right now, while everything else has just been rumors. That is, until now.
Rumors circulated for some time that Lucasfilm was looking to get a Han Solo anthology film, set in his earlier years before A New Hope, off the ground. It was a priority for the studio, and now they have the two guys who will do the job, and it’s coming from an unlikely, but great, choice. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the dynamic directing duo behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, the Jump Street films, and the criminally underrated animated series Clone High from MTV, are set to go to a galaxy far, far away to bring a young Han Solo back to the big screen. With just days to go before Comic-Con 2015, and it looks Borys Kit over at THR broke the story, with it becoming quickly confirmed by the official Star Wars website.
This is great news on a lot of fronts. While I’ve seen quite a bit of bemoaning from fans already about the fact that Han doesn’t need an origin, there’s no saying the film is, in fact, an origin tale. The idea in doing a younger Solo adventure before A New Hope is quite intriguing, if he’s handled in a way that we don’t take away much of what makes him so intriguing by overly explaining it. A story about the young space pirate, and his first dealings with the Hutts, and how he and Chewie became an unlikely duo, seems like it offers a lot of fun, and could be much different than any of the things that we’re likely to see in the normal Episode films.
While we also heard Josh Trank was working on a film that would feature both Han Solo and Boba Fett before A New Hope, it’s to be clear that this is a separate anthology film, one that would solely focus on a younger Solo. It’s safe to say that this film will have to play lockstep to whatever that film, also at one point written by Lawrence Kasdan, has in store. With Miller and Lord doing this film, and on a fast track, it seems it has also taken them out of the running to direct the DC adaptation of The Flash, which they were in line to direct, and working on the story treatment for. It also takes them possibly out of the director’s chair for 23 Jump Street, but they stay on that film as producers.
Lord and Miller are no strangers to picking projects that sound highly questionable either - something they’ve to more than once. The duo are great at taking projects that sound strange, bizarre, or completely unnecessary, and turning them into something great films that are worth watching. They have a very unique outlook, and one that could be perfect with a younger Han Solo. In fact, I don’t think there’s anyone that could do the project nearly as much justice as Lord and Miller, and they aren’t doing it alone. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, and the upcoming The Force Awakens, will write the film alongside his son, Jon Kasdan. Both will be executive producing the film as well.
This idea, inherently, is one that is a head scratcher to fans, who felt burned by prequels just a little over a decade ago. Many are afraid that Lucasfilm is losing sight of the series, and doing this all for the almighty dollar. It’s something that I can see can cause concern, but at the same time, it’s something I think needs to be doused a bit. While the truth is, they are a business, they’re also not looking to make the same mistakes that Lucas made with the prequels. Kennedy has been clear in the past about only doing films that have a story worth telling, and that she wouldn’t move forward with any of them otherwise.
Lord and Miller both had this to say about the upcoming film, trying to assure fans of what they have in store for the series:
“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”
The tongue and cheek, but clearly loving response to them getting a Star Wars job is enough of an indicator that they have nothing but the best intentions, and one that should quell a lot of idle minds.
That same enthusiasm comes through in what both Lawrence and Jon Kasdan had to say as well:
“We’re so excited to be working with Chris and Phil, who will bring a fresh new dimension to the Star Wars universe. They’re two of the smartest, funniest and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy.”
Of course, Kathleen Kennedy had this to add:
“It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task. Larry and Jon know all there is to know about the character, and Chris and Phil will bring their wit, style, energy and heart to tell Han’s story.”
The enthusiasm for Han Solo, his story, and the film that all involved are going to make is highly palpable. It’s making the idea of the film much easier to digest, while making it all the more exciting as well.
The million dollar question though, and the one that many are asking themselves before getting excited for the film, is who will take over the iconic role. Who could possibly play a young Harrison Ford, in his prime, before the opening credits of A New Hope. It’s a question that Lord, Miller, and Lucasfilm are now faced with, and one that we are all waiting on baited breath for. I don’t envy them at all, and it’s going to be a tough and thorough search, but I’m sure the team behind this will be able to get a great actor to do the character, and Ford, justice.
The Han Solo Anthology Film is set for May 25, 2018.