To start with, let’s make sure we take this with a grain of salt, because after the news of this broke, there was a response from Lucasfilm Executive Pablo Hidalgo on Twitter in which he may or not be refuting the news, depending on how you read his Tweets:
“I’ll let others sort it out, but ask yourself – what question was he answering? #cryptictweets.”
And then he sent another Tweet saying:
“It’s Darth Vegas all over again. These guys don’t know these names”
So what is all the hoopla about? Apparently while doing an exclusive interview with Variety at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this month, after confirming that he was indeed going to be a a part of the ‘Han Solo’ spin-off film, Woody Harrelson also seemingly stated that he was going to be playing a character in the film that fans of the old Expanded Universe will remember. The character’s name is Garris Shrike, and for those not in the know, he was a kind of dark mentor to Han Solo in his youth, taking the orphaned child off the streets and teaching him to be a criminal in his gang before Han rebelled and went his own way.
Here’s the direct quote from the Harrelson’s interview with Variety:
“Woody, we have to ask you a Star Wars question. It’s been revealed that you’re the Han Solo mentor. Can you confirm that it’s Garris Shrike? Or what can you tell us?
Woody Harrelson: Confirm what?
That you’re playing the character of Garris?
[Others in the interview talk while Harrelson thinks]
Woody Harrelson: Yeah, I am.”
So the issue here is the fact that Harrelson, first of all, may have just been answering the question about him being in the ‘Han Solo’ film and not necessarily confirming that he was Garris Shrike, and secondly, as Hidalgo points out, there’s a chance that Harrelson might not have known who Garris Shrike was when the question was asked and answered without really knowing whether he was playing that character. Or of course, there’s always the chance that Disney/ Lucasfilm did not want that news getting out just yet and Hidalgo is sowing the seeds of doubt so people do not know for sure what role Harrelson will be playing in the new ‘Star Wars’ stand-alone film. Regardless, even if he is playing Garris Shrike, there is little chance the character or his story with Han Solo will be identical to what we saw in the old Expanded Universe as Disney is not beholden to the old Canon, and I am sure directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller would not want to have their hands tied by having to remain 100% faithful to a story written years ago in the novels.
What are your thoughts on who Woody Harrelson will be playing in the film? Do you think he will be playing another mentor type of character for Han Solo? Or could he actually be playing Garris Shrike? Or do you think none of this is important because you sadly cannot move beyond the boundaries of the old Expanded Universe and feel the need to continually remind everyone who bothers to read your comments that only the EU matters? Whatever your opinion, check out the full interview with Variety below and then feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below!