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|HE’S flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and he’s seen a lot of strange stuff ... and now audiences are about to see a little bit more of the life of Han Solo, intergalactic smuggler, Millennium Falcon pilot, reluctant good guy and all-round badass.|
The new film, to be released in 2018, is part of Disney’s all-out effort to reboot the Star Wars franchise after buying the rights from George Lucas in 2012.
In addition to a new trilogy of films, beginning with episode seven The Force Awakens this December, the studio has also announced spin-off films focused on a rebel fighting force and the bounty hunter Boba Fett.
The Han Solo film, to be written by longtime Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon, is expected to track the early life of the character made famous by Harrison Ford in the original movie.
The announcement of the new spin-off, which came just a few days before Comic Con in San Diego, immediately stirred fan excitement online. The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams will front a Comic Con panel with Kasdan and Lucasfilm producer Kathleen Kennedy on Friday. Various cast members of the rebooted series are also expected to appear.
There is no word yet on whether the Han Solo spin-off will also feature the backstory of Solo’s Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca, but it would seem to be a temptation that no Star Wars writer could resist.
The movie is to be directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, who have previously helmed the Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street and its sequel 22 Jump Street. In a joint statement, the directors promised to take risks and to “give the audience a fresh experience”.
“(We) pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us,” Miller and Lord stated, adding further weight to the expectation that Chewbacca will also appear in the spin-off.
“This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”
The Kasdans praised the choice of directors in their own statement, describing them as “the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy”.
Various writers have explored Han Solo’s pre-Star Wars adventures over the years. Science fiction writer Brian Daley penned his own trilogy of backstory novels, beginning with Han Solo at Star’s End in 1979, a year before The Empire Strikes Back hit cinema screens. Another Solo origin trilogy was written by Ann C Crispin in the late 1990s, prior to the release of The Phantom Menace.
But Star Wars tragics can expect a totally new version of the Corellian smuggler’s younger days in the new film. Disney executives told starwars.com in 2014 that their writers would be ignoring the so-called “expanded universe” in the new films.