Disney had been promising a series of spinoffs to the powerful “Star Wars” franchise it acquired when it bought LucasFilm. Now the studio is preparing a new feature focusing on the life of young hero Han Solo, to be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the partners who gained acclaim by helming “The Lego Movie” and the “21 Jump Street” films, Walt Disney Studios announced Tuesday.
The Han Solo standalone is slated for a May 25, 2018, release date and is written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. The story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley. Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote other franchise entries “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “The Force Awakens.” Jon Kasdan wrote and directed “The First Time,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and “In the Land of Women,” as well as writing for the television series “Freaks and Geeks” and “Dawson’s Creek.”
“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us,” the directing duo said in a statement. “This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”
“We’re so excited to be working with Chris and Phil, who will bring a fresh new dimension to the ‘Star Wars’ universe,” said the Kasdans. “They’re two of the smartest, funniest and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy.”
Kathleen Kennedy, who will produce the film, added, “It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task. Larry and Jon know all there is to know about the character, and Chris and Phil will bring their wit, style, energy and heart to tell Han’s story.”
Lawrence Kasdan and Jason McGatlin will exec produce, with Will Allegra co-producing.
The next release from the franchise, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” is due out this Christmas.