Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is one of the greatest figures of Star Wars lore, a lovable rogue who ultimately became a hero. Now, at long last, Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story will reveal the character’s canon backstory. What events turned Han into such a cynic? How did he earn a life debt from a Wookiee? And did Han actually cheat when he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando? All these questions, and far more fans never thought to ask, will finally be answered.
Lucasfilm has assembled an all-star cast, and has striven to keep the film’s actual plot under wraps. In addition to younger versions of classic characters, the movie will introduce a whole host of new figures in the Star Wars criminal underground. Many appear to be loosely inspired by the old Expanded Universe, while others remain a mystery. Even the name of what appears to be the main villain has only been revealed through leaked merchandise. Still, the marketing for Solo is kicking up a notch now, and this seems the perfect time to look at what we know for sure about each character.
This Page: Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and Qi’Ra
Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo
Lucasfilm has cast Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo. He’s trying to fill some pretty big shoes, and acting coaches have schooled him in how to act like a young Harrison Ford. Han’s story seems to be loosely adapted from the old Expanded Universe version; he starts out as an orphan on the streets of Corellia, before being recruited by the Empire. Needless to say, Imperial service won’t suit Han Solo at all, and he soon winds up in smuggling circles. Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed that this version of Han will be subtly different to the one fans know and love.
“He might be a little more immature, he may be a little less experienced, and he may hone his cynicism over time, but he’s very wary. He needs to gain the respect of the people he interacts with, even if they’re the lowest of the low.”
Naturally, that desire to earn respect will cause Han to take risks – including joining a criminal enterprise to steal from the Conveyex train. Along the way, Han will also earn a life debt – and a lifelong companion.
Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca
Solo is certain to feature the first encounter between Han Solo and Chewbacca, and explain just how Han earned the Wookiee’s sacred life debt. In the old Expanded Universe, Chewie was a Wookiee slave who Han freed when he saw Imperials about to kill him. It seems likely Solo will follow a similar route, especially given the film is known to visit the spice mines of Kessel; Star Wars: Rebels has already established that the Empire used Wookiee slaves to mine spice. However the two may meet, the relationship between Han and Chewie is sure to be a highlight of the film. Han will somehow save Chewbacca’s life, and earn the Wookiee’s eternal gratitude.
Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian
Donald Glover is following in the footsteps of Billy Dee Williams as the younger Lando Calrissian. Where fans have taken a while to warm up to Ehrenreich, this particular casting decision has seemed inspired. Glover has enjoyed working out how the young Lando thinks; after all, by the time he was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, Lando was already administrator of Cloud City. “I wanted to show the person he was before that was even possible,” Glover explained. “Like, I don’t even know if he thought that was possible at the time.” Will Lando be a friend or a foe? The history between Han and Lando is a long and complicated one. Given Han is destined to win the Millennium Falcon from Lando in a Sabacc game, they may not be on the best of terms over the course of the film!
Emilia Clarke is Qi’Ra
Marketing for Solo has put Emilia Clarke’s original character Qi’Ra front and center. Her backstory has been kept under wraps, but the tie-in novel Most Wanted promises to answer a lot of questions. As the official plot summary reads:
“Han and Qi’ra don’t have a lot in common other than not having a lot. They’re street kids on the industrial planet Corellia, doing whatever it takes to get by, dreaming of something more. They each jump at a chance to prove themselves in the perilous world of Corellia’s criminal underbelly, only to discover they are on the same mission for the same unscrupulous boss. When the job goes disastrously wrong, Han and Qi’ra are on the run – from pirates, a droid crime syndicate, the Empire, and their boss – and will have to learn to trust each other if they are going to survive.”
Qi’Ra becomes Han’s first real friend, and the two stick together for a long time. Clarke has teased that “something must happen” between Han and Qi’Ra for her to disappear from Han’s life. Some fans have speculated that Qi’Ra will essentially be the film’s Vesper Lynd, a love interest who betrays Han and damages his outlook on life.