After accompanying Ron Howard on a number of his cinematic adventures, Paul Bettany will now join him in his latest forge, namely retooling the Han Solo movie.
Howard took to Twitter yesterday to post an image of Bettany, donning some semblance of a costume, and him on the set of the film’s reshoots. “The Outer Rim just got a little bit wilder,” Howard captioned the photo but gave little sense of how Bettany’s character would fit into his reimagining of the Han Solo movie or, for that matter, who Bettany will be playing. The outfit looks vaguely similar to both Solo’s outfit and that of a Jedi, which sparked plenty of speculation, but I imagine the reveal will be held back until later this year or even very early 2018.
For those who were watching the diversity of the film, completely doing away with Michael K. Williams‘ role in favor of bringing in Bettany is problematic, but the imminent issues with this movie go beyond that. For the second time in a row now, Disney and Lucasfilm have scrapped the original visions of major filmmakers – Gareth Edwards and Phil Lord & Chris Miller – and used what’s left of their imagery and ideas for their own ends, which is — it must be said — these companies’ right. No one can honestly speak to how this tactic will affect the Han Solo movie, but anyone who watched Rogue One carefully could see how the sublimity, rhythm, and scope of Edwards’ vision was sacrificed in the name of rote nostalgia and mundane, obvious plotting. At the very least, all of this should be seen as a warning signal to directors: think twice about engaging with this franchise if you care at all about how your movie is put together and released.
Still, for all of these hugely suspicious moves in the cobbling together of the Han Solo movie, Bettany’s abilities as a performer are not even remotely worth questioning. The actor elevates almost anything he appears in, whether that be his role as Vision in the Avengers movies or his undervalued take on Charles Darwin in Creation. My worst fears is that he is playing a younger version of some established character that will take up an unwarranted amount of screen time to once again reward nostalgia over invention, much like Darth Vader and Princess Leia’s roles did in Rogue One. But then again, part of being any kind of Star Wars fan at this point is expecting the absolute worst and yet still hoping for something truly inspiring to come out of it all.
Here’s the tweet from Howard:
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) September 1, 2017