StarWars.com has confirmed the previously reported casting of Woody Harrelson in the upcoming Han Solo standalone movie which, the site says, is “set during the early scoundrel days of the iconic characters, prior to A New Hope.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody,” directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller said in a statement. “His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”
It was previously reported that Harrelson could be joining the project with the award-winning actor presumably up for a key supporting role in the next Star Wars standalone film which focuses on the early adventures of everyone’s favorite space pirate, Han Solo.
According to Variety, talks with Harrelson were in early stages last week, but he’d been deemed the top choice to play the part of Han Solo’s currently unnamed mentor in the film, which is set for a 2018 release.
Given Harrelson’s experience playing grizzled mentor Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games, it should be fairly easy for Star Wars fans to imagine the part he’s playing.
Han has no mentor character in current Star Wars canon, and the only mentor he ever had in the de-canonized Legends continuity was a Wookiee named Dewlannamapia. So, we’re going to go out on a limb and say it’s a totally new character.
You can read everything we know about Han Solo’s early life right here, mostly sourced from the Aftermath: Life Debt novel and the recent Han Solo comic.
The untitled Han Solo movie currently has a May 25, 2018 release date, but rumors persist that it could shift to fall in line with the current Disney/Lucasfilm pattern of December Star Wars releases. The holiday window certainly hasn’t hurt the first of the standalone movies, Rogue One, which just passed $800 million.
Han Solo will be played by Alden Ehrenreich. He stars alongside Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke as the TBA female lead, and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. The movie is directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Disney and Lucasfilm executives wanted the mentor role to go to an actor with established audience clout, Variety reported. They’re thought to have met with various actors over the past several weeks before settling on Harrelson.