The prequel is set for release in 2018
Ever since it was announced that Han Solo would be getting his own movie, Hollywood has been abuzz about who would be cast as the young version of Harrison Ford.
Jack Reynor (What Richard Did), Taron Edgarton (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Miles Teller (Whiplash), Dave Franco (Bad Neighbours) and over 2,500 others were tested out for the part, and earlier this week, one of the co-directors teased fans with this image on Twitter...
The announcement was imminent, and today it was been confirmed that Alden Ehrenreich, best known for his recent scene-stealing turn in Hail, Caesar!
All things considered, Ehrenreich is the best possible choice for the role, by having next-to-now "celebrity baggage" to bring with him into the role, allowing the audiences to supplant their impressions of Harrison Ford on to him, and also giving Ehrenreich enough wiggle room to make the younger version of Han Solo his own.
Coupled with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens) and directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street), and the odds seem stacked in favour of the movie working out pretty well, except for one problem...
No prequel has ever worked out well.
Sure, some aren't out-and-out disasters. The Hobbit Trilogy was perfectly watchable, but couldn't hold a candle to The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. Prometheus was fine, but not compared to Alien or Aliens. Monsters University was an acceptable, albeit washed-down version of Monsters Inc.
Some prequels manage to be good, but almost purely by cheating: Godfather Part II is part prequel/part sequel, so it only kinda counts. Technically, the events of the fourth/fifth/sixth and part of the seventh Fast & Furious movies took place before the third one, so an argument for their inclusion could be made here. The alternate timeline established by X-Men: Days Of Future Past or the rebooted Star Trek blur the lines of pseudo-prequels even further.
And then there's the rest: Aliens VS Predator, The Thing, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Scorpion King, The Transporter: Refuelled, even the recent The Huntsmen: Winter's War.
The Star Wars series doesn't even have to look very far to remind themselves that prequels maybe aren't a great idea...
Of course, the Young Han Solo movie is not the only prequel that Disney have lined up for the Star Wars movie universe. This December sees the release of Rogue One, which tells the story of how the rebels managed to get the plans to the Death Star, a movie which has fans genuinely excited, and rightfully so.
The characters in Rogue One, played by the likes of Felicity Jones, Mads Mikklesen and Ben Mendelsohn, appear to be mostly unknown, not feeding into the movies that follow. To that end, we don't know their ultimate fate, something that Alden Ehrenreich doesn't have to worry about, because we know he must survive to make it to A New Hope.
With that already in mind, any peril that Young Solo finds himself in is instantly evaporated by the knowledge that he's going to be just fine. Sure, it'll be great to see some of his history being coloured in, but if The Phantom Menace / Attack Of The Clones / The Revenge Of The Sith proved anything, it was that sometimes we don't need to know any more than we already do. Comedian Patton Oswalt explained it best:
The so-far-untitled Han Solo movie is due out on May 25th 2018, so we've got almost exactly two years to prepare ourselves for either the best prequel in movie history, or not.