More details on the new characters featured in Solo: A Star Wars Story have arrived. Lucasfilm and Disney opted to unveil the latest Star Wars spinoff all at once this week, starting with a Super Bowl spot on Sunday, trailer on Monday, and further cover story coverage from Entertainment Weekly throughout the week. One of the new bits in EW focuses on the “villains” of the movie, though I use that word lightly in a story about a scoundrel with a heart of gold.
First up is Woody Harrelson’s character Tobias Beckett. We know that Lucasfilm originally approached Christian Bale for the role but he passed, but screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan revealed to EW that in writing the character, they based the mentor/apprentice relationship between Tobias and Han on the relationship between Long John Silver and young Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island. As director Ron Howard tells it, Tobias has the biggest impact on Han:
“Well, he really shapes Han really more than anybody, as Han comes to realize that in a lawless time he needs to try to come to terms with some kind of moral code,”
Then there’s Thandie Newton’s Val, a character who’s “tied to Beckett” as his longtime partner, and who is highly skeptical of Han when she first meets him. Their relationship goes in an “interesting” direction, says Jon Kasdan, but he refused to go further.
And finally there’s Paul Bettany’s Dryden Vos, one of the few (only?) characters who was recast when Howard took over as director from Phil Lord and Chris Miller. In their version the character was played by Michael K. Williams, but he was unavailable when Howard extended production, so the role was reconfigured for Bettany.
This appears to be a pretty big part, at least in terms of impact, as EW describes him as “The Godfather” re: his crime boss status.
“It’s a sort of combination of class and swagger and real danger which I think is a fun thing, and he absolutely inhabits it,” says Jon Kasdan. “He’s way deeper in the crime world than anyone else that we meet in the movie.”
And as for keen-eyed Star Wars fans who noted that Vos shares a name with Quinlan Vos from The Clone Wars animated series, Lucasfilm says sorry boutcha—that’s just a coincidence, and there’s no explicit connection between the two characters.