The low­down on the next Star Wars spin-off


What to ex­pect from the next stand­alone fil­lum in the Star Wars uni­verse.

AS THE FIRST Star Wars stand­alone story, Rogue One, con­tin­ues its box-of­fice dom­i­na­tion, the sec­ond is about to get un­der­way. ‘Young Han Solo: A Star Wars Story’ (not the of­fi­cial ti­tle) will start to shoot in Jan­uary or early Fe­bru­ary. So with a 25 May 2018 re­lease date (up against Mada­gas­car 4!), 41 years to the day since we first met the Corel­lian smuggler, this is what we know so far…


On 7 July 2015, Lucasfilm pres­i­dent Kath­leen Kennedy an­nounced Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo be­hind the Jump Street fran­chise and The LEGO Movie, as di­rec­tors. For all their hip, flip sen­si­bil­ity, they have a clear grasp of what makes Solo tick. “He is clever but smart,” Lord told Star Wars Celebration. “He doesn’t want to do any­thing that he’s told, and if he’s told not to do some­thing, he only wants to do it more. He’s very sar­cas­tic and yet un­rea­son­ably op­ti­mistic. He’s ba­si­cally a cyn­i­cal guy with the big­gest heart in the gal­axy.” Surely they think Solo shoots first.


Alden Ehren­re­ich, best known for Hail, Cae­sar!, was cho­sen from 300 hope­fuls in­clud­ing es­tab­lished names like Dave Franco, Aaron Taylor-john­son, Ansel El­gort, Jack Reynor and Miles Teller. “Turns out that was a to­tal waste of money be­cause the per­son who got the part was the first per­son to au­di­tion, lit­er­ally the first per­son to walk in the door,” Lord said. Ehren­re­ich was buzzed to do a chem­istry test with Chew­bacca — con­firm­ing the un­sur­pris­ing news that the Wook­iee stays in the pic­ture — and re­vealed, “The coolest part of that au­di­tion process was when I went on the Fal­con. It was pretty un­be­liev­able.”


Lando Cal­ris­sian, Han’s old buddy, will be played by mod­ern re­nais­sance man Don­ald Glover, best known for Com­mu­nity, his self-penned show At­lanta and his mu­si­cal al­ter-egos Child­ish Gam­bino and mcdj. As seems com­pul­sory these days for any ac­tor

join­ing a fran­chise, Glover was a child­hood fan — his first ac­tion fig­ure was a Lando — and he has been read the riot act by his mother: “Don’t mess it up!” Lord and Miller seem con­fi­dent. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even big­ger cape, and this one fits him per­fectly, which will save us money on al­ter­ations,” the pair said in a typ­i­cally dry press re­lease. Com­plet­ing the cen­tral tri­an­gle (or square, if you in­clude Chewie) is Emilia Clarke as a yet-to-be-named char­ac­ter. With Game Of Thrones, Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys and now Star Wars, Clarke is cy­cling through sci-fi/ fan­tasy fran­chises faster than War­wick Davis.


“This moves closer to a heist or Western-type feel,” Kennedy told Va­ri­ety re­cently, play­ing squarely into the char­ac­ter’s rogu­ish smuggler’s wheel­house. Co-writer Lawrence Kas­dan, work­ing with son Jon, is a huge stu­dent of West­erns, with a par­tic­u­lar pen­chant for The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven’s Steve Mcqueen: the char­ac­ter will likely be im­bued with Mcqueen’s trade­mark swag­ger and poise. Ex­pect meet­ing Chewie, win­ning the Mil­len­nium Fal­con from Lando in a ses­sion of dice game sabacc, and an in­tro for Boba Fett (an­other po­ten­tial stand­alone) to fig­ure.


Kath­leen Kennedy re­cently re­vealed a key vis­ual source for the film. “We’ve talked about [Fred­eric] Rem­ing­ton and those pri­mary colours that are used in his paint­ings defin­ing the look and feel for the film.” Ar­rival cin­e­matog­ra­pher Brad­ford Young will be be­hind the cam­era: “It’s gonna feel like a Star Wars film, but we’re def­i­nitely gonna break some rules, and we’re en­cour­aged to do that.” Solo wouldn’t have it any other way. ‘UN­TI­TLED HAN SOLO STAR WARS AN­THOL­OGY FILM’ IS IN CINE­MAS FROM 24 MAY 2018.

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