Donald Glover is about to enter the Star Wars universe. Back in August, word surfaced that the Community actor and creator/star/writer/director of the brilliant FX series Atlanta was being eyed to play young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spinoff. Shortly thereafter, there was some hubbub that Glover’s casting might not work out due to scheduling difficulties with Atlanta‘s second season. Lucasfilm and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller underwent another round of screentests for both the roles of Lando and the film’s female lead recently, but today Lucasfilm announced officially that Donald Glover will indeed be playing Lando Calrissian in the film.
This is a major role for Glover, who first burst onto the scene in Community after getting his start as a staff writer on 30 Rock. He left Community to pursue his music career as Childish Gambino, and this fall saw the debut of his critically acclaimed comedy series Atlanta (which is one of the best shows on TV right now). Now, he’s joining the Star Wars universe and stepping into the role that Billy Dee Williams originated in Empire Strikes Back.
Per the press release, “this new film depicts Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld—years before the events involving Han, Leia, and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and his rise to Rebel hero in Return of the Jedi.”
The still-untitled film will be directed by The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street helmers Lord and Miller, and after a lengthy casting search, they set Beautiful Creatures and Hail, Caesar! standout Alden Ehrenreich to play Han Solo in the feature. And yes, per THR’s Borys Kit, the film is expected to explain how Lando lost the Millennium Falcon to Han in the first place.
The prospect of seeing a “scoundrel on the rise” Lando milling about it in the underworld alongside a still rough-around-the edges Han Solo is insanely exciting, and Glover is a tremendously gifted actor who’s proven adept at both comedy and drama. He could not be a more perfect fit for this project. Speaking about his casting, Lord and Miller had this to say:
“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us,” said Lord and Miller. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”
FX has already renewed Atlanta for a second season as the show is currently winding down it stellar inaugural run of episodes, but the untitled Han Solo film is scheduled to begin filming in early 2017, meaning Season 2 of Atlanta may be slightly delayed given that Glover isn’t just the star of the show, he’s the showrunner and driving creative voice. No matter, Atlanta Season 2 is still coming eventually, and Glover gets to play a huge role in the Star Wars universe.
We should hear more casting news soon as the untitled Han Solo film heads towards its May 25, 2018 release date. Glover, meanwhile, will next be seen on the big screen in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming next summer.