Alden Ehrenreich graces stage as Han Solo; Rian Johnson talks Episode VIII
Space Elvis has entered the building. That’s what people call Han Solo, right? Well if they don’t then they really should give it a try because it fits like a glove. The man is cool, charming, has a way with the ladies and has perfectly quaffed hair at all times. These are qualities Harrison Ford has, which made him the perfect casting choice for the roguish smuggler all those years ago. Now it's time for a new, younger take on the character, and that’s where the newly cast Space Elvis, Alden Ehrenreich, comes in—and he looks ready to take on the role.
The Star Wars Celebration Europe concluded this weekend with a panel featuring Ehrenreich, the cast and crew from STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII, and directors of the Han Solo standalone movie, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Ehrenreich made his first public appearance since reports came out he got the role, officially taking on the mantle and legacy of the character. According to Deadline, Ehrenreich was the first of 3000 global auditions for the role, before he was eventually revisited.
“When it first came along I knew everybody would be going out for it. I read the sides and loved them and thought, ‘Who knows, but let me give it a shot.'”
Ehrenreich also made fans everywhere murderously jealous when he said he got to do screen tests…with Chewbacca…on the Millennium Falcon...over six months of callbacks.
The directors of the solo Solo movie, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, were also on the panel, and Lord began discussing what the character means to him:
“I relate to Han Solo: He doesn’t want to do anything he’s told, when you tell him not to do something he wants to do it more — he’s very sarcastic and at the end of the day he’s reasonably optimistic. That’s why we got so excited about making this movie: the dichotomy between this grouchy guy with the biggest heart in the galaxy.”
Johnson spoke about the movie, and how this one would begin right where FORCE AWAKENS left off, ditching the style of earlier STAR WARS films wherein they start some time later after the events of the previous film.
“It was a surreal way to start things out. I didn’t even really think about the notion that we were going to break a long-standing Star Wars tradition.”
As well, Johnson spoke to the importance of the characters, and not just the razzle dazzle of aliens and explosions, saying it was important the film was “based on our reaction to it rather than the cultural reaction to [characters Rey, Finn, Kylo].”
“You come into it with those feelings of deep nostalgia, but you realize your ultimate responsibility to get beyond that, and to tell a story that’s alive for right now. You have to sit in front of Luke Skywalker and have those feelings, and then get to know Mark as an actor and get back into the actual work of filmmaking and telling a story.”
“[THE FORCE AWAKENS was] this incredible explosion of adventure and excitement, it’s very natural that the second film is where we zoom in on the characters, getting at the heart of the them, challenging them, pushing them deeper.”
I can’t get enough of how Johnson talks about this new STAR WARS movie. There’ so much passion behind his words when it comes to advancing the characters, and it seems he's making what may end up being the most complex WARS film yet. Then there’s Ehrenreich, looking dapper as all space Hell. Though I’m glad he got the role, I was taken aback when I read he was the first of 3000 auditions. That’s like the casting people were trying out 3000 different flavors of ice cream, started out with chocolate, and said, “nah, let’s try all these other flavors.” Then after trying all 3000 flavors they said, “On second thought, that chocolate was pretty dope.” Of course it is. Chocolate is always dope. Anyway, they picked the best flavor, and now we have a pretty worthy Solo in our midst.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII will take us back to a galaxy far, far away on December 17, 2017, while the Han Solo film is set for May 25, 2018. Until then, enjoy some footage from ROGUE ONE for what I assume is the hundredth time!