With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars fans may have never been as divided as they are now. Sure, the prequel trilogy films weren’t very good but that’s something that everyone could agree upon. The Last Jedi and namely it’s portrayal of Luke Skywalker seem to have torn the Star Wars fan base apart and it’s something that Disney and Lucasfilm have to be worried about, especially with the pending release of their second “anthology” film in Solo: A Star Wars story. This will be the second film released under the anthology banner after 2016’s Rogue One, and considering the strife that has come with this film (the directors, in Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were replaced with only three week’s left on principal photography as their style of pushing for a lot of improvisation on set apparently didn’t jive with Kathleen Kennedy and other’s at Disney/Lucasfilm) it may not be the pallate cleanser that Star Wars fans (and Kathleen Kennedy and other’s at Disney/Lucasfilm) were looking for, especially those that hated The Last Jedi. So, let’s take a look at the rumors surrounding Solo: A Star Wars Story, especially considering the film is only about a month away from release.
15. Ron Howard Basically Reshot the Entire Movie
As the intro said, initial directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were replaced with only three weeks left in principal photography. The reason for this wasn’t given by the studio itself but it’s thought that it was their improvisational style mixed with the fact that they’d basically created a comedy. Now, the Star Wars films have always had some humor but there’s never been an out and out comedy, so it would’ve made little sense to release a film that was essentially Men in Black in space, especially considering the fact that this film would’ve taken place during the darkest time in history of the Galaxy (with the Empire at full power). So, the studio brought in Hollywood icon Ron Howard to finish the film, as he definitely could bring the vision of Lucasfilm/Disney to the big screen better than any other director out there. The question becomes, then, just how much he had to reshoot to actually do that. A lot of forums around the internet have said that he’s had to reshoot as much as 80% of the film to do just that, and perhaps it’s something we’ll never really know. The most recent and apt comparison is that of Justice League, which brought in Joss Whedon to finish the filming of that film after the suicide of the daughter of the previous director Zack Snyder. It was fairly easy to see which scenes were Whedon’s and which were Snyders in that film as Whedon’s known for light-hearted, jokey scenes and Snyder is more well known for the gritty/stylistic scenes. It probably won’t be as easy to tell in Han Solo then, especially if they’re reshooting most of the film. Either way, Ron Howard needs a hit probably just as much as Disney wants or needs to get Star Wars fans back on their side, so everyone involved probably wanted to scrap as much as possible to ensure the best product out there and that’ll end up benefitting fans. Which is a good thing.
14. Alden Ehrenreich is the Reason that Lord/Miller were Replaced
When it was announced that the next film in the Star Wars Anthology Universe would be a “Young Han Solo” film, basically every actor under 30 and over 18 threw their hat in the ring for what felt like the role of a lifetime at the time. Every young male actor of note was attached to the product at one point (at least from an audition standpoint) and when Alden Ehrenreich was announced as getting the role many people ended up saying… Who? Ehrenreich is best known for his role in the Cohen Brothers film “Hail, Caesar” and does sort of resemble Han Solo in a sort of “He Doesn’t Resemble Han Solo, At All” sort of way. Clearly, though, he’s the most important part of the upcoming film (alongside other actors like “Community” star Donald Glover who is set to portraying Lando) and thus he has a lot of power on set. So, when it was announced that the directors in Miller/Lord exited the film it was reported by sites like Star Wars News Net that it was actually Ehrenreich that was behind their firing. The word is that he was unhappy with the direction of the film and how his character was being portrayed, with comparisons to Ace Ventura being made. So, it’s said that Ehrenreich went to producers with his concerns and the rest is history.
13. Alden Ehrenreich Can’t Act
Beyond the whole Ace Ventura thing, there have been a lot of rumors about Ehrenreich’s performance itself. After reports that Disney/Lucasfilm brought in an acting coach for Ehrenreich people began to say that Disney/Lucasfilm were concerned about his performance as a whole and that he couldn’t act, etc. Now, as was mentioned in the previous entry, there was basically a global search for the role of young Han Solo and so it’d be hard to believe that they brought in someone that couldn’t act, but considering the fact that Ehrenreich really only has a couple of credits under his belt and the fact that Han Solo has a certain set of mannerisms and way of speaking, perhaps he wasn’t the best fit for the role after all. Now, some have also said that it was a dialect coach more than an acting coach and that could be something completely different. Because Han Solo is one of the most well-known characters in film history perhaps there’s a coach on set to ensure that Ehrenreich is saying his lines the way that Han Solo would, which would be intimidating and hard for any actor, let alone one with only a few credits to his name. So, hopefully, Ehrenreich is just looking for some assistance in how to pronounce certain words, etc. As opposed to it being something more than that as we’ve already seen how Star Wars can basically destroy careers (Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen).
12. The Cantina Will be One of the Main Settings
We’re first introduced to Han Solo in A New Hope at the Cantina on Mos Eisley, on Luke’s Home Planet of Tatooine. So, it’d make sense for that filthy watering hole to make an appearance in Solo, as Han is a smuggler and The Cantina is a place where criminals like smugglers all hang out, get jobs and obviously shoot first or second (depending on which film you’ve seen or where you lay in that whole debate). While it’s basically easier to get information about the CIA than Star Wars at this point, we typically don’t know about things like settings or characters until Disney/Lucasfilms wants us to. However, there was an image that leaked from the set of Han Solo that appeared to show the Cantina (or a Cantina) that seems to imply that that location will be a major part of the film as it looked to form part of a major action sequence in the film. While the image is a bit hard to decipher, it does look super familiar and could bring something old to the new film, which is always fun. I mean, who doesn’t love the cantina from the original Star Wars films?
11. Jabba the Hutt Will Appear
Obviously, when we’re first introduced to Han Solo in A New Hope he’s greatly in debt to Jabba the Hutt. So much so that he’s almost murdered before he can even really enter the story. The original release for A New Hope only really mentioned Jabba, as the technology didn’t exist for George Lucas’ full vision to be realized, however in subsequent releases they did find a way to add a CGI Jabba to scenes with Han that were filmed with a regular human actor before they also released the vision for Jabba as a slug-beast. So, with Han and Lando both being in the Han Solo movie you’d have to think that Jabba will be the major antagonist of the film. Beyond that assumption is a report(s) from That Hashtag Show that claims that Jabba has a big role in the script that both Lord and Miller wrote. Now, with Ron Howard joining the film it’s thought that he won’t change the actual script much (if at all), so it sounds like Jabba will have a major role in the film. It’s also thought that the filmmakers will merge CGI and Animatronics to ensure that his look from the original films isn’t lost.
10. Thandie Newton is Portraying Han’s (First) Wife
Thandie Newton was announced as a cast member for Solo awhile back and that’s basically the extent of what we know about her character. However, the British actress does look a lot like Sana Starroes, who in the Star Wars comics is a fellow smuggler who is Han’s first “wife”. However, it’s more complicated than that. In the comics Han denies that she’s his wife and she ends up traveling across the galaxy to confront her lying “husband” about that and a myriad of crappy behavior. So, while it may be blasphemous, especially with what has happened with Carrie Fisher, to introduce another wife before Leia, it’d also be in-line with the character than Han was, especially. However, this “rumor” could just be wishful thinking as all of the comics and extended universe before the purchase by Disney were removed from canon so she’s most likely just a new character that’s a love interest for Han.
9. Lawrence Kasdan Also Directed…
If there’s one person that doesn’t get enough credit from the general public for his role in Star Wars (both the original trilogy and as a whole), it’s Lawrence Kasdan. The writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Kasdan was responsible for the best parts of Star Wars. So, with George Lucas no longer involved in Star Wars one could argue that Kasdan is the most powerful person involved in the films besides Kathleen Kennedy. So, while some people are saying that the main actor Ehrenreich was behind the firing of original directors Miller and Lord there are some that are saying that Kasdan was just as, if not more, responsible. That actually makes a lot of sense as Kasdan clearly would want his vision as closely adhered to as possible and with Lord and Miller being known for their improvisational style of directing, it’s not hard to see why they’d butt heads. So, the rumor/theory is that Kasdan went to Kennedy to voice his concerns with that and ended up basically “shadow” directing the film until they could find a full-time director in Ron Howard.
8. Maz Kanata will Feature?
One of the more well-received new characters introduced since The Force Awakens is Maz Kanata, a sort of yellow-version of Yoda who like him is extremely long-lived. Being alive long enough to see the rise and fall of both the Empire as well as the First Order (hopefully). As implied in The Force Awakens, Kanata (who is also force sensitive) has a long history will both Han Solo and his best friend, Chewbacca (who she refers to as her boyfriend, saying “I like that Wookie”). Because of that history, it’d make sense that she may appear in Solo, especially as she runs a Cantina of sorts that is also frequented by the sort of clientele that also frequents the Cantina on Tatooine where we first encounter Han in A New Hope. She also is rumored to appear in some of the toys that will be released for Solo, so there’s that as well.
7. Woody Harrelson Will Portray Garris Shrike
Woody Harrelson has had a pretty illustrious career since first reaching “household name” status back in the 80’s while starring in the sitcom Cheers. Since then, he’s been in a lot of great films but especially as of late hasn’t participated in films that don’t provide him with relatively large or important roles. Because of that, people are convinced that he’s going to be portraying Garris Shrike in Solo. Shrike, who first appeared in the novel The Paradise Snare (by author A. C. Crispin), is a former bounty hunter who essentially raised Solo when he was a child. A lot like Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy, Shrike wasn’t the best “father” or nicest guy in general, to others or to Han. This rumor, or theory, or themor, was basically confirmed (in a way) by Harrelson who did say that he would portray Solo’s “mentor” in the film during a guest spot on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. However, he said during that appearance that his character’s name will be Beckett, so perhaps Beckett is the Disney Star Wars universes’ version of Shrike. Only time will tell.
6. It Will Set Up a Boba Fett Spin-Off
Since his appearance in the original trilogy, there’s no character that’s perhaps more beloved (as a bad ass) than Boba Fett. So, back when it was announced that Disney/Lucasfilm would be off-setting the main trilogy films with Anthology films (every other year), people started speculating that we’d get a Boba Fett film. Beyond just pure speculation, people also started creating fan art for the film as well, in the hopes that Disney/Lucasfilm would take notice and put the film in their pipeline. However, any news about the next Anthology film after Solo (and the final film in the new trilogy) has basically gone quiet, especially with the announcement that director of The Last Jedi Rian Johnson would be helming a new Trilogy of his own that would go beyond the Skywalker families legacy. With that, the rumor(s) that Fett would get his own film have transitioned into the idea that he might show up in Solo itself. Considering the limited amount of screen time that Fett received in the original trilogy and prequel trilogy (as a child), one has to think that it’d make sense that he’d get his just due as the main protagonist in a film, so hopefully that’s the case with Solo. It’d definitely get fans on the film’s side.
5. Will Darth Vader Be in it?
The best part of Rogue One was the final appearance of Darth Vader, in that it showed Vader at his most powerful, at least in film, as he used the force to absolutely destroy the Rebel’s that were hoping to block him from obtaining the information that’d set the beginning of A New Hope in action. So, with any anthology film set in and around his time the question will always go back to whether or not he will appear in the film, and Solo is no different. The actor that played Darth Vader in Rogue One was named Spencer Wilding and he was set to appear at a Star Wars event earlier this year and backed out. The website for that event, titled Fandom Fest, said that he couldn’t appear because he would be “filming the newest film in the Star Wars universe”, which really got people thinking that he would indeed be appearing in Solo. Beyond that, podcast That Hashtag Show also stated that Darth Vader had been seen on the set for Solo, so considering that and the timeline of the movie it’s pretty much a guarantee that if Vader isn’t seen in the film that his presence will be widely felt.
4. George Lucas Almost Stepped in for Lord and Miller
When the internet found out that Disney/Lucasfilm had moved on from the combination of Lord and Miller as the directors of Solo, they went into a frenzy attempting to fan-cast the replacement for the film that they never wanted in the first place. Basically, every major name was thrown around in the two days that it took for them to announce Ron Howard as the replacement and in that time the biggest name that was attached was no other than George Lucas himself. Now, when Lucas sold Lucasfilm/Star Wars to Disney, he did initially come on as an advisor to Disney and even ended up sharing his vision for a new trilogy with them. After they decided to go a different direction (something for the fans, as he put it) Lucas essentially felt like a divorced husband who lost custody to his children and even went on television to refer to Disney as “White slavers”. So, the idea that he’d return didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Beyond that, he also wasn’t even responsible for directing the best parts of the original trilogy, so any hopes that he’d somehow come in and save Solo also didn’t make a whole lot of sense, either.
3. Alden Ehrenreich Could Have Appeared in Rogue One
Back when it was announced that Ehrenreich had been cast as the Young Han Solo for the film that would become Solo: A Star Wars Story, rumors were that he would make his first appearance in Rogue One, the first anthology film in the new Star Wars universe. The timing would’ve made sense as both Rogue One and Solo take place between the third prequel trilogy film (Revenge of the Sith) and A New Hope. Also, considering that the premise of a Rogue One involves stealing the plans to the Death Star from The Empire and getting them to the Rebels, you would’ve thought that a smuggler (or twenty) could’ve been used to get the plans to Princess Leia at the beginning of A New Hope. However, it was never meant to be and also considering the fact that Rogue One digitally rejuvenated Carrie Fisher to make her look younger (as well as digitally recreated Grand Moff Tarkin), it would’ve been weird to see Ehrenreich instead of a digitally young Harrison Ford. Which also raises the question as to why they made Solo in the first place.
2. Danny DeVito in Star Wars?
Now, for a fun one! In the middle of 2017 Oscar-winning actress (and noted Star Wars fan) Brie Larson Tweeted out some photos from the premiere of one of her films stating; “I met the cast of Star Wars. They Watched @GlassCastleFilm…”. The only problem was that Danny DeVito happened to be in one of the photos she Tweeted and considering that at the time he had neither been confirmed nor denied to be in Solo, it sent the internet into a frenzy in the following hours in the hopes that they could figure out who he was playing in the film. The photo in question showed Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clark next to Larson and DeVito. Once Larson realized what she had done she Tweeted that DeVito was definitely NOT in Solo, which is too bad that he’d make a wicked Yoda. But, it just goes to show you that you have to take every rumor with a grain of salt, even the ones on this list!
1. Disney is already Writing It Off
It was thought for the longest time that Star Wars is a brand that is basically flop proof. Even the prequels, which were widely panned, were basically cash cows (even if they didn’t reach the levels of the original trilogy or The Force Awakens). However, while the most recent film in The Last Jedi opened well (11% behind The Force Awakens), it started to perform a lot more like Rogue One than TFA in subsequent weeks (before the Christmas Holiday helped bolster its numbers). The fan response to The Last Jedi has reportedly shaken Disney/Lucasfilms to its core though as the critics actually loved The Last Jedi and so it probably came as a huge surprise to those in power at Disney that the fans were so divided by the film and that so many are starting to swear off Star Wars. It’s a nightmare scenario that means that Solo: A Star Wars Story is coming at the worst possible time. Solo was a film that the fans never wanted but that the studio went forward with anyway. A film that borders on blasphemy as recasting the role of Han Solo just seems like a bad idea. Beyond that, it’d make a lot more sense to go with the film that the fans wanted, the Obi-Wan story, especially with Ewan McGregor being open to returning to the franchise. So, all of those things, combined with the added cost of bringing in Ron Howard and refilming a large portion of the film means that it does make sense that Disney is already writing off the film.