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One of the most highly anticipated castings in recent movie history, the actor who will be playing the role of young Han Solo has finally been announced. Alden Ehrenreich, who was last seen in this year’s Coen Brother’s film, Hail, Caesar!, will play the coveted role in the as of yet untitled Star Wars anthology film.
For over a year now, potential castings and rumored shortlists of actors vying for the part have been making their rounds. In early January, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Dave Franco were at the top of the list, while Taron Egerton, Scott Eastwood and Jack Reynor were more recent candidates in addition to Alden.
Because the casting was so hush-hush, albeit hugely important in the multi-billion dollar Star Wars universe, it was nicknamed Project Red Cup, like the plastic red Solo cups seen at frat parties.
Alden reportedly sealed the deal after a successful screen test, impressing executives at both Disney and Lucasfilm. They seem to be keeping to the trend of choosing relative newcomers for their young stars, as was the case in the original Star Wars films from the 70’s.
The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who did 2014’s The Lego Movie. It will also be written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son, John, who co-wrote three previous Star Wars films: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
The film takes place before Han Solo joined the Rebel Alliance, but won’t necessarily go all the way back to his childhood. Lawrence had this to say in a recent Q&A:
“It will not be, ‘Here’s where he was born and this is how he was raised.’ I think what it will be is, ‘What was he like 10 years earlier?’ . . . But [legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira] Kurosawa once said the heroes are the ones that are still changing and the villains are locked and petrified into what they are.”
Therefore, the film is apparently not an origins story.
But regardless of how much time and thoughtfulness was put into the casting of the young Han Solo, the real question is whether fans approve of the choice. So far, the fan response has been mixed, some — after seeing Alden’s performance in Hail, Caesar! — believing he will do a great job, and others questioning the purpose of the film in general.
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) May 6, 2016
All feelings on reboots aside: #AldenEhrenreich is a gifted actor, a great person & he will be shockingly good because he always, always is.
— Margaret Stohl (@mstohl) May 6, 2016
@CBR still think this movie is a mistake. U can’t replace Harrison. Theres so many other things they could be doing 4 anthology films anyway
— ShadowGuardian (@wookiee582) May 6, 2016
@nerdist Should’ve been Anthony Ingruber. This guy doesn’t look right at all. Well, that’s one Star Wars movie I won’t be seeing.
— Kyle Movius (@OrangeKyle91) May 6, 2016
Although the Han Solo film won’t start shooting until January 2017, it already has a tentative release date of May 25, 2018. Alden will also potentially get a cameo role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a spin-off about the rebel mission to steal the plans for the Death Star, which is slated for a December release.
If that is indeed true, fans may get a taste of their new Han Solo sooner than they think.