Althought Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the movie on everyone’s mind at the moment, it’s only one of several entries into the Star Wars film canon we’ll see in the coming years. There will be two more sequels directly following the original trilogy and a set of anthology films focusing on characters and events outside of the main story.
One of those anthology films will focus exclusively on a younger Han Solo, giving us more backstory for one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars universe.
On Thursday, as part of its week-long coverage of all things Star Wars, Entertainment Weekly published an interview with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in which details of the Phil Lord and Chris Miller directed spinoff were shared for the very first time.
On paper, a movie about Han Solo sounds like a surefire hit, but before the studio decided to move forward with the project, the executives had to decide how much they wanted to reveal about Han Solo, and how to introduce a younger version of the character just three years after Harrison Ford is set to reclaim his iconic role in Episode VII.
“Those are exactly the questions we’re asking,” Kennedy told EW. “There’s got to be a reason for [the stand-alone film] to be. And obviously the thing that Star Wars has always done so well is it doesn’t spend a lot of time [explaining] the stories that have come before. We don’t want to do that either. We don’t want to spend time going back and answering a lot of questions that, quite frankly, I don’t think people want answered.”
(Some questions people didn’t want answered that have been answered anyway, thanks to the prequels: What are midi-chlorians? What would it look like if angsty Anakin murdered children? How much screen time can we possibly give Jar Jar Binks?)
This time around, Kennedy thinks she and the team at Lucasfilm know what fans want:
“I think the key here is that we are identifying an event or events in Han Solo’s life that gives you some idea of who he is and why he is the character we have all known to love. You can imagine, given who we’ve chosen to come in and direct, it should be very entertaining and funny. Han Solo is the character inside Star Wars that everybody knows has a wit and sense of humor. So that’s what this should be.”
Some other interesting tidbits from the interview worth noting:
- George Lucas gave his blessing for movies focusing on individual characters.
- Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon will write the script.
- Kasdan turned down working on the prequels, but the Han Solo project intrigued him.
- Solo will be in his “high teens, low 20s” in the film.
- Familiar characters such as Chewbacca, Jabba the Hut and Greedo could make appearances.
- The Han Solo anthology film now has a release date of May 25, 2018 after the Josh Trank anthology film lost its director.
As a Star Wars fan, it’s hard not to be anxious about any movie that threatens to damage the original trilogy any more than it already has been, but with Lord and Miller attached to direct and The Empire Strikes Back scribe Kasdan committed to telling a story that lives up to the character’s legacy, I’m cautiously optimistic.