Woody Harrelson Eyed to Play Han Solo’s Mentor in ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff (EXCLUSIVE)

Woody Harrelson Star Wars
Theo Kingma/REX/Shutterstock

After playing a mentor to Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” franchise, Woody Harrelson might help guide another iconic character’s journey.

Sources tell Variety that, while talks are still in the early stages, Harrelson is the top choice to play Han Solo’s mentor in the upcoming “Star Wars” spinoff starring Alden Ehrenreich.

Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke also star, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller directing. Disney had no comment.


‘Star Wars’: Lucasfilm Chief Previews ‘Rogue One’ and Han Solo Spinoff

The movie will be set prior to “Star Wars: A New Hope,” like the other “Star Wars” standalone project, “Rogue One,” which hit theaters on Dec. 16.

Kathleen Kennedy and Allison Shearmur are producing the spinoff film, which is expected to begin production in January. The movie is slated to hit theaters on May 25, 2018. Harrelson and Shearmur have close ties from their work on “The Hunger Games,” when Shearmur was overseeing the project for Lionsgate.

The ensemble has already begun filling with rising stars, but executives wanted this role to go to an actor with considerable clout, and started meeting with actors over the past several weeks.

The first “Star Wars Story,” “Rogue One,” has set the bar high. Along with overwhelmingly positive reviews, it has grossed more than $800 million worldwide, and is still in theaters.

In the past year, Harrelson has kept busy, appearing in the cop drama “Triple Nine,” “Now You See Me 2,” “LBJ,” and “The Edge of Seventeen.”

The coming year looks just as busy, with “The Glass Castle” opposite Brie Larson, “Wilson,” and the highly anticipated “War of the Planet of the Apes,” in which he plays the new antagonist. He is repped by CAA.

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  1. loco73 says:

    Given his charisma, talent and chameleon like ability to fit into whatever role he plays, I think this is a definite plus. The weakest link so far in the standalone Han Solo movie is the lead actor as far as I can see. Alden Ehrenreich is not terrible, but he doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement for the movie. I’m glad that Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke are there to round off the cast.

    Woody Harrelson would add much needed weight and credibility to the movie. Given how good he was as in a similar mentor type role in “The Hunger Games”, I think he would be just as good within the “Star Wars” franchise. As it stands, after seeing “Rogue One” (multiple times), I am more intrigued in the Anthology movies than the new trilogy. I loved “Rogue One”.

  2. IT--II--IT says:

    The Intel RUN Hollywood franchise slum with it’s ‘latest’ in – – -BULLLLEH – –cubed !

  3. jedi77 says:

    We need this to happen! This could be the decision that gets me onboard the Han Solo movie.

  4. Jimmy Green says:

    No. Please. Just NO.

  5. Laurie says:

    I think I just puked a little.
    Woody Harrellson? They need someone who can play a lowlife. Not an actual one.

  6. Sydney White says:

    Suddenly, I am interested! If there’s one part Woody can play (and there’s definitely more than one), it’s a mentor. ;)

    • I actually liked him and the supporting players more in “The Hunger Games” than the younger cast. He adds a lot of character to films. Even in “Now You See Me”, he has such a talent for wit. :)

      • Sydney White says:

        Yeah, I’m torn because I really enjoyed the play and Snape’s part in it (it’s rather significant)…but to bring it to the screen following the loss of Rickman…that would be quite difficult. 8{

      • I agree. There was will only ever be one Alan Rickman. May he rest in peace.

      • Sydney White says:

        Ah, good.
        And yes, indeed…if they turn Cursed Child into a film, those are some huge shoes for somebody to fill.

      • Oh yeah. They are almost better off doing a digital likeness of Rickman like they did with Peter Cushing in “Rogue One” and minimizing his role so someone doesn’t have to try and fill those huge shoes.

      • Sydney White says:

        Yes, it’s called Lost in London. :) Does Variety allow you to post links? I’ll try:
        And you’re right; it typically is the older/adult actors who “make” a good YA film. Harry Potter is definitely the other major illustration of that. In fact, I only went ahead down that rabbit hole and read the books because Alan Rickman (rest his soul) made me so interested in Snape. ;)

      • :) Indeed. And yes I got the article. Thank you. I miss Mr. Rickman. That was just unfair he was taken but he was perfect as Snape.

      • Sydney White says:

        I am so similar! I hadn’t even recognized Banks’ name going into THG, and now count myself a major fan. The quality of the supporting actors’ performances really elevate that series beyond being “pretty good for a YA franchise.” They brought the parts to life beautifully.
        Absolutely…ah yes, I’d nearly forgotten he’s going to be in the next Planet of the Apes. I was just thinking of an article I’d read recently about his plans to actually film a movie live. :0 But he’s an actor whose presence definitely increases my interest in any given project (for instance, this Han Solo film.)

      • Really? Do you know the name of the film he’s shooting live? I’m curious. And I agree with the other stuff you said. Truth be told that’s any YA franchise. Yeah the Harry Potter trio sort of slowly learned to lead the films on their own but the early films needed a strong supporting cast of adult actors to push the story forward. :) Anyway what is this live movie Harrelson is filming if I may ask? Do you have a link to the article?

      • Sydney White says:

        Same here! As usual, I wound up being even more taken with the older supporting cast than the younger stars. He and Elizabeth Banks are my favorites.
        And that is very true. I’ve been a fan since I first saw Cheers, and also loved him in Zombieland and Natural Born Killers.

      • Ah yes! I loved Elizabeth Banks! I never found her particularly noticeable but her commitment to Effie was magnificent. I nail down the forward momentum of “The Hunger Games” in narrative to Harrelson, Banks, and Sutherland whose President Snow was both terrifying and compelling. I feel like that was intentional as Katniss and the kids were too…I guess self-absorbed is the word. But that’s beside the point. Harrelson really rounds out ensemble casts well. Cheers he was great, Zombieland he was memorable, Hunger Games he was like a drunk Yoda, and his work in the upcoming “War of the Planet of the Apes” looks hardcore. I gladly welcome him into the scum and villainy of the galaxy. :)

  7. ronmader says:

    Jump. The. Shark.

  8. SmartMFer says:

    Sounds good so far. Hopefully it won’t suffer from incoherent re-editing like Rogue One.

  9. loco73 says:

    Oh man…that would be great! My interest in this movie just went up considerably!

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