LONDON — It's the worst-kept secret in Hollywood: Alden Ehrenreich is officially stepping aboard the Millennium Falcon in the forthcoming Han Solo standalone film as the scruffy nerfherder himself.
In May, it was reported that Ehrenreich had nabbed the coveted role of young Han Solo in Phil Lord and Chris Miller's Star Wars anthology film, but he made his formal debut at Star Wars Celebration's closing Future Filmmakers panel on Sunday (July 17) in London. Ehrenreich looked so much like Harrison Ford's iconic character that even John Boyega, who joined Ehrenreich and directors Lord and Miller onstage, exclaimed, "He's smiling just like Han!"
It took Lord and Miller months to find their Han Solo. According to the directors, they saw more than 3,000 actors for the role "from all across the world." Remarkably, Ehrenreich was the first actor to audition for the role of young Han.
During the final stages of the casting process, Ehrenreich tested in the Millennium Falcon with his right-hand Wookie, Chewbacca. "I’d never acted with a Wookie before," Ehrenreich said.
Details about Lord and Miller's Han Solo standalone have been sparse, but here's what we do know: It takes place sometime before A New Hope, and Chewbacca will star alongside the smooth-talking smuggler. So the untitled Han Solo film — which will sadly remain untitled for the time being — will presumably follow Han and Chewie on adventures before they docked the Millennium Falcon on Tattooine.
Midway through the panel, however, moderator Pablo Hidalgo did ask Ehrenreich what it felt like to "do that first discovery of the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca." (Hmm.) Despite the nerves, Ehrenreich said, "There's something about it that felt so exciting that it was more exciting than it was nerve-wracking."
When asked why Lord and Miller wanted to tell a Han Solo story, Lord said, "I relate to him. He doesn't want to do anything that he's told to do. When you tell him not to do something, it makes him want to do it more. He's very sarcastic. But at the end of the day, he’s unreasonably optimistic."
"He's this seemingly grumpy guy with the biggest heart in the galaxy," Miller added. "He's a maverick. He's a scoundrel. He's clever, but he's not smart. He wants to present himself as this cool, tough guy but in the end, he always does the right thing."
Lord and Miller confirmed that they are still in the early stages of pre-production. "We just moved here [to London] two days ago," Miller said. The directors said they are still working on the script with Larry and Jon Kasdan, and that there's still "a lot of sets to design and build and characters and robots and droids and aliens and creatures for Neal [Scanlan] and his team to create."
Filming is set to commence at the end of January or early February.