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A Han Solo movie was in the works before Disney bought Lucasfilm

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Dec 17, 2018, 8:00 PM EST (Updated)

It may be easier to frame Solo: A Star Wars Story in the context of a troubled production, but, like the galaxy far, far away, the story (pun intended) is so much bigger than the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Based on a cover report by Entertainment Weekly on the second Star Wars anthology movie, a spinoff film centering on Han Solo was already in the works at Lucasfilm before the company was purchased by Disney in 2012. 

The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strike Back, Return of the Jedi) along with his son Jon who wrote and directed In the Land of Women and The First Time. Before father and son teamed up, however, Kasdan Sr. had already been tapped to pen a Solo-centric script, but a little project called The Force Awakens came along and ate up a good chunk of his time. He wrote Episode VII in tandem with director J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), which was quite the draining experience. 

“When I was done, I was sort of burned out. And I said, ‘I don’t know, do we still want to do this Han thing?’” Lawrence told EW. “And they said, ‘Yeah! We really want you to go ahead with Han.’ And I said, ‘Well, my son, Jon, is very enthusiastic and full of ideas about the saga.’ And he had directed two movies and had done other things. ‘What if he came on and worked with me? Because, that would give me a shot in the arm.’ And so, that’s exactly what happened. They made a deal with Jon, and he and I have been writing since for three years.”

The writing team went on to say they were inspired by movies like Treasure Island, Heat, Unforgiven, and The Big Lebowski. Ok, the pirate, heist, and Wild West elements make sense, but what does a film about bowling have to do with an interstellar smuggler? According to Jon Kasdan, he and his pa wanted to place a wrong-footed Han into a world already teeming with drama and complicated relationships.  

“[Solo] has that flavor of a crime world that has weirdness and surprise and people stumbling into things — and other people very intentionally getting into [trouble],” he said. "The Big Lebowski is a great example because Solo has a more off-kilter tone than you’ve ever seen in [Star Wars].”

Does that mean we can start referring to Mr. Solo as "The Dude" from now on?

Solo assembles a group of scruffy-looking nerf herders on May 25. 

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