Ladies and gentlemen, the blaster has been handed down. After an exhaustive casting search, the lead in the upcoming young Han Solo Star Wars spinoff has been cast, and it’s none other than Alden Ehrenreich. The news was first reported by Page Six, of all places, but has subsequently been confirmed by the major trades.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller—best known for helming the Jump Street films and The LEGO Movie—have been in the midst of a massive casting search to find the lead of their Star Wars spinoff, as filling the shoes of a performance as iconic as Harrison Ford’s turn is a near-impossible task. The casting process started winding down in recent months, with Ehrenreich landing a finalist slot alongside Kingsman: The Secret Service star Taron Egerton and Transformers: Age of Extinction actor Jack Reynor, who’s poised to break out with the delightful Sing Street. Earlier shortlists pegged Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Brooklyn actor Emory Cohen among those asked to audition, and Dave Franco read for the role as well.
But in the end, it’s Alden Ehrenreich who’ll be filling Ford’s shoes. The actor first came to prominence in the underrated 2013 YA adaptation Beautiful Creatures, following that up with a memorable turn in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine before breaking out in a big way as the scene-stealer in the Coen Brothers comedy Hail, Caesar! The guy has more than proven he’s a promising talent with some serious chops, and it’s really hard to argue with this choice.
Story details for the untitled spinoff are under wraps, but Chewbacca will play a key role and The Wrap suggests that it’s possible Boba Fett could pop up in the film as well. Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter behind The Empire Strikes Back and co-writer of The Force Awakens, penned the script for the film with his son Jon Kasdan.
While one may argue a young Han Solo spinoff is a terrible idea, Lord and Miller have made a career out of wildly surpassing expectations, and with someone as exciting as Ehrenreich in the lead role, the wait for the film’s May 25, 2018 release date just got that much longer.