“I have a bad feeling about this.”
Meet the new Han Solo(s).
According to reports by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety writer Justin Kroll, one of these five actors will star in the new Solo spin-off movie, taking over the role of the interplanetary smuggler made famous by Harrison Ford. Thus far over 2,500 actors have auditioned or sent in tapes, and the finalists have been narrowed down to this half-dozen:
Alden Ehrenreich, 27 years old, best known for “Stoker” (2013), “Hail, Caesar!” (2016).
Taron Egerton, 27 years old, best known for “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2014).
Jack Reynor, 24 years old, best known for “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (2014).
Blake Jenner, 23, best known for the TV series “Glee”.
Jack O’Connell, 26 years old, best known for “Unbroken” (2014).
Some adult Star Wars fans might have a hard time catching a buzz about this casting news. The past thirty years of Star Wars have had all the ups and downs of over-consumption, like a party that started great but got ugly late. The blissful highs of the original 80’s trilogy eventually gave way to the nagging headaches of special editions and re-shoots in the 90’s, and finally crashed into stomach-emptying hangovers in the form of the prequels in the early 2000’s. By the time George Lucas finally called it quits, fans’ wallets were emptied from relentless remasters and bad merchandising, and the franchise was trashed.
In 2015, The Force Awakens broke the downward trend. The sci-fi action pedigree of J.J. Abrams (Star Trek), the guidance of executive producer Kathleen Kennedy (Back to the Future, Jurrasic Park) and the writing of Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back) brought fresh life into the franchise, and a new slate of spin-offs and sequels is set to ride the momentum they’ve created. But that dream team from Force Awakens does not return intact for Solo.
The new Solo movie will be co-directed by Phillip Lord and Christopher Miller, a team with a short career that includes only animated films like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie, and the somewhat well-received 21 Jump Street comedy and its sequel. Solo will be the directors’ first foray into sci-fi. Given that this project will be heavily scrutinized by fans, it seems fair to say the Miller/Lord team is a questionable choice to helm it.
But most fans seem to think the decision to make a Han Solo prequel is a strange one regardless of who gets the part.