UPDATED, 7:22 PM: We don’t know if he’ll shoot first, but he has the job. Alden Ehrenreich will play Han Solo in Disney’s stand-alone Star Wars movie, confirming what Deadline reported exclusively three weeks ago. Sources say the Hail Caesar! star is negotiating to seal the deal.
The film will cover events in Han Solo’s life that took place prior to his appearance in 1977’s Star Wars, but no story details have been revealed. But before Disney’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm, the Star Wars Expanded Universe line of books and comics featured several novels about the scoundrel’s younger days. The Expanded Universe was officially de-canonized in 2014, but elements from it have been borrowed in the Star Wars universe’s new canon, notably with certain plot points in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s possible, then, that some of Solo’s previously established backstory might make its way back into the Star Wars mainstream.
The stand-alone Han Solo film, expected to be called Han Solo: A Star Wars Story in keeping with this year’s Rogue One, is in preproduction under directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Perhaps anticipating the confirmation of Ehrenreich’s casting, Miller commemorated this week’s “May the 4th” festivities by tweeting out the first official image from the production — Solo’s iconic blaster:
— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) May 4, 2016
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, April 13: After screens tests that narrowed down the field of possible actors portraying Han Solo for the stand-alone movie in the Star Wars universe, Alden Ehrenreich has emerged as the front-runner for the coveted role. The casting of this character has been shrouded in secrecy — to the point of it being referred to as project Red Cup (get it? Solo cups). After screen tests, it was narrowed down to only a handful of actors that included Taron Egerton and Jack Reynor. However, sources with knowledge of the casting process, said that Ehrenreich is now leading the pack after after an impressive performance.
The newcomer is also the lead in Warren Beatty’s yet untitled “Howard Hughes project” which will receive a fall release from Fox this year. The 26 year-old actor also gave a stand-out performance this year in Hail, Caesar! He is currently in production on Cinelou’s The Yellow Birds.
The Han Solo film, which Disney is slating for release on May 25th, 2018, will be directed The Lego Movie team of by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The picture will focus on Solo’s days before he linked up with the rebel alliance. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy is producing. Lawrence Kasdan is exec producing with Jason McGatlin. Kasdan — who wrote Star Wars pics The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens — scripted the new pic with his son Jon Kasdan.
Disney did not return an email seeking comment. CAA, who reps Ehrenreich, would not comment either. Like we said, this casting is being guarded like it’s a matter of national security.