After the stand-alone Han Solo movie was announced a long, long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far, far away, what we knew about the film was as scarce as anything interesting in the void of space. But with a Super Bowl trailer under the film's belt and only a few months until its release, Disney and Lucasfilm are pushing out details about Solo: A Star Wars Story in order to sate their fanbase’s incredible thirst for knowledge.
We already found out a little bit about the film’s heroes (including young Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca), but what about its less savory characters? Turns out they’re a bit more sophisticated than the crime lords we’re used to seeing in the Star Wars universe.
In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, director Ron Howard, screenwriters Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, and more detail the crooks Han will be dealing with in his stand-alone film: Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Val (Thandie Newton), and Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).
First up is Beckett, a longtime scoundrel who takes Han under his wing. “He really shapes Han more than anybody, as Han comes to realize that in a lawless time he needs to try to come to terms with some kind of moral code,” said Howard. Han becomes a smuggler, sure, but he’s not the scum of the galaxy — that’s why his soft spot ends up saving everyone. This mentor relationship between the two was modeled on Treasure Island’s Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins. (Treasure Island in space ... isn’t that just Treasure Planet?)
Val’s a bit more mysterious, though she meets Han through her partnership with Beckett — and doesn’t see much to care about. “I will say at first glance, she doesn’t necessarily have total faith in Han — as a lot of people he meets in his life tend to feel about him,” Jon Kasdan says. There’s also room for a certain amount of tantalizing growth in this relationship, however (as one would expect between Solo and any woman he meets), as Kasdan continues that “her relationship with him goes in, I think, an … interesting direction.” No idea what that means, but this family could get complicated pretty quickly.
Vos, at the head of the family, is the one in charge of all that. This is no Hutt, nor a boring businessman like the Trade Federation goons. Vos is the smooth mob boss who uses money and power to keep himself well removed from the grime. “It’s a sort of combination of class and swagger and real danger,” says Jon Kasdan of Bettany’s character. “He’s way deeper in the crime world than anyone else that we meet in the movie.”
Beckett is a different breed — which relates to how Solo finds kinship with the man and his skewed code of honor — though the pair are part of the same underworld family. There’s just degrees of separation in this world, the doers and the managers. “There’s no hierarchy,” Jon Kasdan said, explaining a lack of formal titles in this Godfather-esque scenario. “There are some that are in power, and there’s some that are scrambling to stay alive.”
Bettany replaced Michael K. Williams when Ron Howard held extensive reshoots and Williams’ schedule couldn’t make it work. Seeing all these criminals together makes Solo’s different degrees of criminality a delightful area of speculation as fans try to suss out the true baddies among them and who, like Solo himself, are just lovably scruffy-looking nerf herders.