A new scoundrel! Woody Harrelson officially signs on for Han Solo spinoff

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Dec 20, 2018, 4:00 PM EST (Updated)

Word broke several days ago that Woody Harrelson was in talks to join Lucasfilm's Han Solo spinoff film, and now it's official.

The studio has announced that Harrelson is officially on the project, joining Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian) and Emilia Clarke. The story will follow a young Han Solo as he causes mischief across the galaxy in the years before A New Hope.

"We couldn't be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody," directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said in a statement. "His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong."

The studio is remaining mum in regard to Harrelson's role, though initial reports indicate he'll be playing the role of a mentor for young Han. He has plenty of experience in such a role, from his turn as Haymitch in The Hunger Games to his portrayal of Tallahassee in Zombieland. The actor is enjoying a bit of a renaissance these days, fresh off his acclaimed turn in HBO's True Detective, and can next be seen in War for the Planet of the Apes this summer.

One fan theory is that Harrelson could be playing a variation of the character Alexsandr Badure, who was young Han's mentor in the Expanded Universe ... which is technically no longer canon. However, Disney recently brought the fan-favorite baddie Grand Admiral Thrawn over from the Expanded Universe, so they could certainly draw some inspiration from those Han Solo Adventures books.

The young Han Solo film is set for release in 2018. It was initially penciled in for May, but rumor has it the film could be bumped to December (which has proven to be a prime release window for the franchise the past two years).