We're finally in the release month for Solo: A Star Wars Story, the prequel film that will show us just how the legendary smuggler became the iconic Millennium Falcon pilot we know and love. This time around, it's actor Alden Ehrenreich stepping into Harrison Ford's boots for the role, and while we haven't seen everything he can do yet, this film might not be the end of it.
Last month, Ehrenreich confirmed somewhat reluctantly that Lucasfilm has actually contracted him for three films as Han Solo, setting up the possibility that he could return for other adventures (possibly even in supporting roles for other characters) as the character should this film work. There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions there, most of which won't be answered until we know if Solo performs to Lucasfilm's expectations, but the idea of a future for Han Solo even beyond this prequel film is an intriguing one. So, of course, other people involved in the making of this particular Star Wars story were bound to be questioned about it eventually.
This week it was director Ron Howard's turn. In a new interview about the making of the film with Fandango, Howard was asked about Ehrenreich's potential three-film run as Han Solo, and while he emphasized the uncertainty of it all, he also emphasized another key element to the success and failure of Star Wars: The fans.
"I think the fans are going to define all of that. I mean I think that Lucasfilm and Disney in casting actors, and particularly younger actors, want to see what happens and build upon that. Certainly, they want the commitment from the young actors, but there are no concrete plans," Howard said. "I think there's been a lot of creative energy and now marketing energy going behind this movie.
"I think these are exactly what they're meant to be, or what they're designed to be. They're single movies exploring the galaxy; but of course, as a company, I think they're going to be very interested to see how people respond to it and take it from there. This whole thing is kind of a cool, ambitious exploration of what the galaxy and the Star Wars sensibility can continue to mean to fans."
One of the great joys of the Star Wars franchise overall is that it's always felt like a gigantic iceberg that we're still only seeing a very small part of. As vast as the galaxy is and as much as it's growing in the Disney era, there's still so much left to see. That means you can create characters who act and feel like they've seen much more of it than the audience has, and Han Solo has embodied that for decades. It makes perfect sense that there are options for Disney to fill his time between Solo and A New Hope, but as Howard said, it all starts with one movie.
Howard also talked a bit more about this inspirations behind the film, emphasizing its place as a film on the edge of the galaxy following characters who are often engaging in criminal enterprises. He's made comparisons to heist movies before, but he also emphasized car chases and racing films, including the Steven McQueen classic Bullitt and his own 2013 racing drama Rush. As for other heist films, Howard noted that screenwriter Jon Kasdan, who co-wrote the film with his father Lawrence Kasdan, would often reference the classic Michael Mann film Heat. So, if you want to plan a non-Star Wars film festival to prep for Solo, those are the places to start.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters May 25.