The cast for the next Star Wars anthology film is growing. Lucasfilm confirmed today that Woody Harrelson is joining the ensemble of the untitled Young Han Solo film, following reports last week that the Hunger Games actor was the top choice to fill a key role of Han Solo’s mentor. Lucasfilm and Disney reportedly wanted a big name for this particular role, and first considered Christian Bale before settling on Harrelson.
In a statement regarding his casting, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had this to say:
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody. His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”
Alden Ehrenreich leads the film as the younger version of Harrison Ford’s iconic character, and while specific plot details are under wraps, the film is said to focus on “the early scoundrel days of the iconic characters, prior to A New Hope.” Thus far, the only other existing character we know who’s appearing in Han Solo is Lando Calrissian, to be played by Atlanta star/creator Donald Glover. The cast also includes Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke in an unspecified role, and with filming set to begin next month, we should be hearing more casting information soon.
Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan originated the script for the spinoff, but it’s unclear if Lord and Miller did some script work of their own or brought in other writers. We do know they’ve enlisted Arrival and Selma cinematographer Bradford Young to serve as the film’s director of photography, which is just as exciting as the casting of Harrelson here.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of tone this film strikes. Lord and Miller’s previous efforts have been firmly rooted in the comedy genre, but they also have a knack for injecting a surprising amount of pathos into films like 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie. One imagines that balance will also permeate Young Han Solo, and it sure would be interesting if they tackled the whole film as a Western of sorts.
Look for more casting information soon. The untitled Young Han Solo movie is slated for release in 2018.