×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ New Details Revealed, Alden Ehrenreich Officially Introduced as Young Han Solo

LONDON — Directors Rian Johnson, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, accompanied by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, discussed the future of the “Star Wars” franchise at Star Wars Celebration Europe at the ExCel Centre. Alden Ehrenreich was also officially introduced as young Han Solo for the upcoming standalone movie.

“This is going to start right where the last one left off,” “Episode VIII” director Johnson said. “It was a break from tradition.”

He added, “The second film is where we zoom into the characters, getting to the heart of them and challenging them.”

In preparation to direct the highly anticipated sequel, Johnson screened gritty 1949 WWII drama “Twelve O’Clock High” (“It became extremely important”) and Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1959 survival adventure “Letter Never Sent” plus classics like “The Bridge On The River Kwai,” “The Dambusters,” “Sahara” and “Gunga Din.”

Johnson went to San Francisco and spent six weeks figuring out the story.

“We would watch dailies come in from ‘VII.’ It was probably really healthy creating the story based on our reactions to the footage rather than the cultural reactions. It was a unique experience.”

As a surprise for fans, stars John Boyega, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher made unscheduled appearances. “Rian is awesome,” said Boyega. “He is doing an indie movie within a studio franchise. It is so much fun…Rian has a new energy for a new story.”

Lord and Miller will direct the as yet untitled Han Solo picture as a standalone “Star Wars Story,” which features the iconic smuggler in his early 20s from a script written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. According to Miller, the film will shoot “end of January or early February” in the U.K.

Lord said, “I sort of relate to him. He doesn’t want to do anything he is told. He is very sarcastic and at the end of the day he is unreasonably optimistic. He is a grouchy, cynical guy with the biggest heart in the galaxy.”

Miller added, “He’s a maverick, a scoundrel. He is clever but he’s not smart. He wants to present himself as this tough guy but he is lovable. He is one of the most iconic characters of all time.”

After months of speculation, Alden Ehrenreich (“Hail Caesar!”) was officially announced as young Han Solo. He was brought in front of the crowd of 4000 to a rapturous reception.

“We thought this was the hardest casting challenge of all time. They were the biggest boots to fill,” said Miller.

Casting Solo, Lord and Miller looked at over 3000 people, “but we cast the first person who walked through the door,” said Miller. “Sorry Kathy — we wasted your money.”

“I am going to take it out of your salary,” quipped Kennedy.

Ehrenreich said, “I read the sides and I loved them. I auditioned for six months. The coolest part was I went on the Falcon for a chemistry test with Chewbacca. It was unbelievable. It was more exciting than nerve-racking.”

Johnson is picking up the reins of the saga from director J.J. Abrams, whose “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” made $2.8 billion worldwide. Kennedy picked Johnson because of his “substance and sense of humor. Rian moves the camera as good as Steven Spielberg. I don’t say that about many people.”

“Episode VIII” sees the return of Hamill, Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis.

New cast members include Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran.

Following preliminary work in Skellig Michael off the coast of Ireland, the film lensed in Pinewood Studios, England, Dubrovnik, Croatia and County Cork, Ireland. Production started recreating the closing moments of “Episode VII.”

Star Wars: Episode VIII” will open on Dec. 15, 2017. The untitled Han Solo standalone movie will bow on May 25, 2018.

More Film

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Sued for Home Video Profits by 'Young Doctors in Love' Writer

    Disney is facing a class-action lawsuit from the screenwriter of the 1982 hospital parody “Young Doctors in Love,” who alleges that the studio has withheld millions in home video revenue. Michael Elias filed the suit on Dec. 6 in Los Angeles Superior Court. His attorney, Neville Johnson, filed similar class-action lawsuits against six other studios [...]

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and

    Richard E. Grant Makes the Most of His Screen Time

    Richard E. Grant is so memorable in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” that it’s a shock to realize he’s only in a fraction of the film. Fox Searchlight’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”centers on biographer Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) when she is broke and desperate, and begins forging celebrity letters. Israel has encounters with multiple [...]

  • Wonder Woman

    Movies Starring Women Outperform Male-Led Titles at Box Office, Study Finds

    Female-led movies outperformed male-led titles at the worldwide box office during the 2014-17 period, a study released Tuesday showed. Creative Artists Agency and technology company Shift7 said that the analysis found that female-led films outperformed male-led films at all budget levels. The study grew out of the Time’s Up movement in a collaboration aiming to [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film Review: 'Aquaman'

    Aquaman isn’t like the other DC Comics superheroes, so it seems only right that his big-screen solo show should have a personality all its own — which, in the hands of “Furious 7” director James Wan, it does. Gone is the Aryan-looking Atlantean in green-and-orange spandex, replaced with a bare-chested Hawaiian super-stud with long, shaggy [...]

  • Issa Rae

    Issa Rae, Columbia Sign Multi-Picture Production Deal Promoting Diverse Screenwriters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Issa Rae’s production company, ColorCreative, has signed a multi-picture production deal with Columbia Pictures. The pact is unique in that under the agreement, ColorCreative will work with and back projects from emerging, diverse screenwriters. The move comes as the entertainment industry is under pressure to develop films and shows that feature underrepresented talent both in [...]

  • VR studio Baobab Crow The Legend

    Animators Embrace VR as 'Age of Sail' and 'Crow' Make Audience Inroads

    Virtual reality has been making inroads in the entertainment business for several years, but 2018 has been an especially big one for animated projects. This year, there are at least two VR-animated shorts vying for Oscar nominations: Google Spotlight Stories’ “Age of Sail” and Baobab Studios’ “Crow: The Legend.” Disney has created its first VR [...]

  • Thomas Vinterberg Kursk

    Les Arcs Festival Launches Talent Village Under Thomas Vinterberg's Patronage

    Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, Les Arcs Industry Village is launching the Talent Village, a new development workshop and platform for emerging talents which will be under the patronage of Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (“The Hunt”). Kicking off on Dec. 12 and hosted at the Cinéfabrique Film school in Lyon, the workshop will take place [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content