I’ve previously described ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ as having more to prove than any other movie on Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ slate. This is partly, of course, because of the way a prequel story that required the recasting of one of Harrison Ford’s most iconic characters split fan opinion down the middle, though the film’s troubled production hasn’t exactly helped with that either. All of that makes this latest development all the more interesting.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, ‘Solo’ co-writer Lawrence Kasdan revealed that the project’s history goes back farther than any of us realized. Though Kasdan doesn’t say exactly when, Lucasfilm had apparently signed him to develop a Han Solo movie prior to the company’s 2012 sale to Disney (in a way making ‘Solo’ the last of the Lucas-era ‘Star Wars’). Hindsight being what it is, this also sheds some light on comments Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made to /Film shortly prior to the 2015 release of ‘The Force Awakens’. Specifically, Kennedy described an early meeting with George Lucas (in advance of his retirement), in which the future of ‘Star Wars’ was discussed, including the idea of films separate from the core saga:
“I sat with George in April of 2012, and the company was sold in September of 2012, so it was a relatively short amount of time before. But one of the first conversations I had creatively with George was about doing other movies than the saga films. And he had a few ideas kicking aroung but he was very open to where this might go in the ‘Star Wars’ universe.”
Despite both his longstanding involvement and his particular interest in ‘Solo‘ (early reports suggested that the writing gig on ‘Solo’ was a condition of Kasdan’s work on ‘The Force Awakens’), the intense work involved with kickstarting the cinematic juggernaut that is ‘Star Wars’ took its toll on Kasdan. In fact, the experience was apparently so draining that he had second thoughts about the spinoff:
“When I was done [with ‘The Force Awakens’], 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.”
So it seems the creative energy brought on by Jon Kasdan’s involvement was crucial to rejuvenating his father’s interest in the project. Here’s hoping that energy is also enough to overcome the film’s turbulent production when it lands in theaters this summer!
‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is scheduled for release on May 25, 2018. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Joonas Suotamo. Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on ‘Solo’ and other upcoming ‘Star Wars’ films as it becomes available!