Han Solo has always been filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan's favorite Star Wars character, even before Kasdan was hired to rewrite Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. So in 2012, when franchise founder George Lucas and new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy laid out for Kasdan their vision for new Star Wars adventures, Kasdan immediately sparked to the idea of writing the swaggering smuggler's origin story.
**This post contains potential spoilers for one line in Solo: A Star Wars Story .**
Kasdan had never given much thought to Solo's early days, because he thought his entrance in Star Wars: A New Hope so perfectly explained the character (Kasdan insists that Han shot Greedo first). But it didn't take long for the now 69-year-old filmmaker to figure out the detail most fundamental to the character's development. This all happened just months before Lucas sold his company to Disney for $6 billion, so in the weeks before that monumental transaction was completed, Kasdan found himself in a room with Disney CEO Bob Iger, pitching his idea.
"The wheels started spinning, and there was a moment shortly afterward when we were asked to tell the Disney brass what we had in mind," Kasdan recalled in an interview with SYFY WIRE in Los Angeles. "It was me and [original Force Awakens screenwriter] Michael Arndt and [Rebels producer] Simon Kinberg. I just told them a very brief little thing. It was about Han being asked his name and his answer, and him saying 'I have no people.' The guy [who asks him] shrugs and says, 'OK — Han Solo.'"
The CEO was immediately sold — "Bob Iger said, 'OK, I'm ready to make that movie,'" Kasdan says. The screenwriter was later brought aboard to help rewrite The Force Awakens — in which he kills Han — and then returned to Solo, enlisting the help of his screenwriter son, Jon Kasdan, to bring in some fresh ideas. At one point, the film cast Alden Ehrenreich to fill the shows of the young criminal, but getting his story right took quite awhile.
The script went through many permutations; the two Kasdans worked together on it for several years and across several continents, directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord put their spin on the movie for a time, and then Ron Howard came aboard to complete the production. But that first thought that Kasdan had, now nearly six years ago, the one that revealed not only how Han got his name but also his attitude and worldview — that remained from start to finish.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on May 25.