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Lawrence Kasdan was working on Han Solo film before Disney bought Lucasfilm

Even before the Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm for a cool $4.06 billion in 2012, George Lucas was already working on story treatments for what would become the sequel trilogy, but the first steps in expanding the franchise beyond the Skywalker saga were also being taken as well. It was at this time that Lawrence Kasdan joined George Lucas in developing a Han Solo-centric project, but once Disney took over, Kasdan told Entertainment Weekly that he quickly shifted over to STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

After Lawrence Kasdan completed work on THE FORCE AWAKENS, Disney was still keen on developing the Han Solo project, but as Kasdan was feeling a little burnt out, he suggested bringing on his son to assist him.

When I was done, 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.

Jon Kasdan said that he's been living in the STAR WARS franchise and making up stories in it for almost all of his life, adding, and this is sure to make a lot of people jealous, that George Lucas would send the family a box of STAR WARS toys every Christmas when they were growing up. "George would send a box of toys at Christmas, and it was absolutely the highlight of Christmas. We were fanatical about it. And we had no interest in presents from our parents," Jon said. "It was just, ‘What was gonna come from Lucasfilm?’ And it was always a score. Then the years progressed into, like, ’89. [The gifts] started to be things like umbrellas and sweatshirts. It was a real dark moment in the Kasdan house when we realized the toys were no longer coming."

Although he may not be getting toys from George Lucas anymore, getting to play around in the STAR WARS sandbox must be quite the experience, and both father and son turned to several inspirations to fuel SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, including TREASURE ISLAND, GANGSTER NO. 1, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, MILLER'S CROSSING, UNFORGIVEN, and HEAT. Of the latter film, Jon Kasdan said, "We talked about the relationship between Val Kilmer and Robert De Niro in Heat, where there’s a sort of older, wiser criminal, and then someone who’s learning the ropes from them. We wanted this movie to have that flavor and that swagger." Lawrence Kasdan added that, "No one is reliable. There’s always a chance of betrayal. And, I wanted to take what is essentially a street smart, but very innocent, young man, and figure out how could we start him on the journey to being the character who comes into the cantina?"

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY will hit theaters on May 25, 2018.

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