A Han Solo movie was already in development before Star Wars was sold to Disney

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After months of silence, the last week and a half has seen more info released for Solo: A Star Wars Story than you can shake a Wookiee at. We most recently got a huge deluge of details from Disney and Lucasfilm on all the characters we’ll be seeing in the upcoming Star Wars film about a young Han Solo, but they’re seemingly not content to only info-dump about what’s happening on one side of the camera. New details have now been revealed about how this new version of Han Solo actually relied on the help of the people who first brought him to life.

When Ron Howard was tapped to come in at the eleventh hour to rescue the production after a disagreement about the creative vision for the film forced Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy to fire original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it was actually a bit of a full circle moment. Howard began his career in front of the camera as an actor, with one of his earliest roles being in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, now here he was directing a movie about one of the Star Wars creator’s most beloved characters. Except, Lucas got in on the action himself as well, when what was supposed to be a brief set visit turned into something more, as Kennedy explained to Entertainment Weekly.

He had intended to just kind of stop by and say hi, and he stayed five hours. There’s even one little moment in a scene that — I can’t tell you what, sorry — but in the scene on the Millennium Falcon where George said, ‘Why doesn’t Han just do this.’

It actually is a funny little bit that will probably get a laugh. And Ron happened to be by the monitor and not inside the Falcon and he goes, ‘Oh that’s a great idea,’ and ran in and said, ‘George wants us to do this.’ So that was pretty cool. I think George felt pretty great about that. He could revisit these characters, and I think he felt so comfortable, obviously with Ron being there, that it was just fun for him.

Now, it’s not revealed what this upcoming scene which Lucas changed will be, but it’s entirely possible that it could be an idea he’s had for the character for a while now. A long while now, to be exact. While some fans are decrying Disney’s handling of Star Wars by producing all these spinoffs and prequels, it turns out that Lucas had the same plan years ago. Before the landmark 2012 deal that saw Disney purchase Lucasfilm for a cool $4 billion, Lucas was apparently developing a Han Solo spinoff movie with current Solo: A Star Wars Story writer Lawrence Kasdan.

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Chatting to Entertainment Weekly in a separate interview, Kasdan – who also penned Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the Original Trilogy – revealed that he was brought in by Lucas to write a Solo-centric movie. Kasdan doesn’t give any details about whether this would have been based around an older Solo played by Harrison Ford again, or hewing to the past like the current film with Alden Ehrenreich, but revealed that after the Disney deal he abandoned the project after he was tapped to write The Force Awakens and it became all-consuming. This is why he enlisted the help of his son Jon to take another crack at Solo.

When I was done, I was sort of burned out. And I said, ‘I don’t know, do we still want to do this Han thing?’ And they said, ‘Yeah! We really want you to go ahead with Han.’ And I said, ‘Well, my son, Jon, is very enthusiastic and full of ideas about the saga.’ And he had directed two movies and had done other things. ‘What if he came on and worked with me? Because, that would give me a shot in the arm.’ And so, that’s exactly what happened. They made a deal with Jon, and he and I have been writing since for three years.

The Kasdans also went on to explain the influences that they had when coming up with the story for Solo and some of it may surprise you. We’ve already mentioned how Woody Harrelson’s Tobias Becket is inspired by Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’ adventure story Treasure Island, but apparently the film also draws on Michael Mann’s heist thriller Heat, Clint Eastwood’s award-winning western Unforgiven and even The Coen Bros cult classic The Big Lebowski which lent Solo “that flavor of a crime world that has weirdness and surprise and people stumbling into things — and other people very intentionally getting into [trouble]” and gave it “a more off-kilter tone than you’ve ever seen in [Star Wars].”

Solo: A Star Wars Story is scheduled for release on 25 May 2018.

Last Updated: February 14, 2018

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