We’ve got some new information, courtesy of Disney CEO Bob Iger, that gives us a bit more context for 2018’s Han Solo stand-alone film, as well as a bit of additional confirmation concerning The Last Jedi and our dear departed “Her Worshipfulness”. Read on for details…
Speaking at a USC tech conference today, Bob Iger (who, incidentally, has just signed an extended contract with Disney through July of 2019) shared a few tidbits about both this year’s The Last Jedi and next year’s as-yet untitled Han Solo stand-alone film. Details on this come to us via Variety.com.
First, Iger provided confirmation of an earlier statement from Lucasfilm concerning possible changes to The Last Jedi in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s tragic and unexpected passing in December.
“We are not changing ‘8’ to deal with her passing. Her performance remains as it was in ‘8,’” he said. “In ‘Rogue One’, we created digitally a few characters… We’re not doing that with Carrie.”
The Variety article also touched upon Lucasfilm’s plans for the Star Wars franchise following the 2019 release of Episode IX.
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm, it originally envisioned three new “Star Wars” films. But the company’s creative team is now working on “Star Wars” stories that will go well beyond Episode 9, he said. The team is thinking about “what could be another decade and a half of ‘Star Wars’ stories,” he said.
Perhaps the most substantial information conveyed today by Iger, however concerns the Han Solo movie, scheduled for release in 2018. Despite last month’s casting announcement, details about what the Han Solo film will actually be about remain few and far between. Donald Glover’s casting as Lando Calrissian has led many fans to speculate that we may see how Han managed to get hold of the Millennium Falcon, for example, but we’ve really had little verifiable fact to support any of these rumors.
Well, now we do.
Iger also revealed that the next film, a standalone project on Han Solo, will follow his life from the age of 18 through 24. The film will including “acquiring a certain vehicle and meeting a certain Wookie,” he said. “You’ll also discover how he got his name.”
None of this is terribly surprising, of course. I think most of us expected this to be a fairly straightforward origin movie, and it appears as though it will go more or less by the numbers. Meeting Chewie? Check. Taking possession of the Millennium Falcon? Check. Building his reputation as one of the galaxy’s hottest smugglers? Check. Acquiring his nom de contrebande? Check.
The news, however, probably does little to ease the nagging sense of doubt that many Star Wars fans, myself included, cannot quite shake when it comes to the idea of a Han Solo origin movie. The Solo character, after all, has always had the benefit of a mysterious past, leaving it to the fans to fill in Han’s backstory on their own – or, if they prefer, to not bother with the backstory at all.
It’s a bit like the prospect of a movie about a post-adolescent version of Clint Eastwood’s “man with no name” from the spaghetti westerns. Yes, it could turn out to be a decent movie, but it also runs a very large risk of demystifying the character in a way that diminishes his classic persona.
We will undoubtedly learn more about the Han Solo origin movie over the coming months, but until then most of it remains in the realm of speculation. Many fans’ imaginations are undoubtedly working overtime, coming up with possible scenarios in which we might see our favorite smuggler come Memorial Day weekend of 2018. Let me leave you with an idea of my own.
From what I’ve seen here on the SWNN blog and in our Cantina forum, a significant segment of the Star Wars fan base (and I include myself in this) has a real problem with the notion of Han Solo being played not just by another actor, but by an actor as different from Harrison Ford as Alden Ehrenreich is. The objection there, at least from my own perspective, seems to have nothing to do with Ehrenreich’s acting chops and everything to do with the fact that after almost 40 years, Han Solo the character has become nigh on inseparable from Harrison Ford the actor. It’s a testament to what Ford brought to the role that, to many fans, Han Solo IS Harrison Ford. So, how do you get around something like this?
How about by having Harrison Ford narrate the movie as Han Solo, telling his life story?
It’s an idea that has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now, and one that I haven’t taken particularly seriously (not that I take ANY of my thoughts terribly seriously to begin with, mind you.) But with Iger’s confirmation that the Han Solo movie will cover a six-year stretch of Han’s formative years… having Harrison narrating the movie as an older Han actually begins to sound like an idea that would not only add a fun dimension to the story, but that would also help give fans’ suspension of disbelief a nice little boost as they try to see Ehrenreich as Han Solo, rather than as just another guy with a black vest and a cocky grin.
Again, this is merely a speculative idea and shouldn’t be taken as anything more than that. Neither I nor anyone else here at SWNN has any inside information that anything like this is actually being considered for the movie. But… it might be a cool little way of tying the new film to the classic Han character that’s so inseparably tied to Harrison Ford’s characterization.
We’ll see what happens in just a little more than 14 months!