Woody Harrelson in talks for key role in Han Solo movie

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May 4, 2017, 1:07 PM EDT (Updated)

One of our national screen treasures may be joining his third huge sci-fi franchise in five years.

According to Variety, Woody Harrelson is in talks to play a mentor figure to the young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) in the still-to-be-titled Star Wars anthology film that will focus on the early years of the Corellian pilot and smuggler. There is, as usual, no official word on what the character is called or how large the role is, but apparently Disney is looking for a well-known actor with "clout" for the part (The Hollywood Reporter says Christian Bale was in the running at one point as well).

Harrelson not only brings clout but also experience with this kind of role, having played Haymitch Abernathy, guru and guide to Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games series. He also plays a teacher with similar leanings in the recently released (non-genre) The Edge of Seventeen

If Harrelson does take the job, it will also mark the third major sci-fi property that he's gotten himself involved with since 2012, following The Hunger Games and the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies. For the latter, the actor is playing a human colonel intent on wiping out the simian race in this summer's War for the Planet of the Apes.

What kind of "mentor" does a scoundrel like Han Solo need, exactly? Not really sure about that, but Screencrush has taken a leap of speculation and suggested that Harrelson's character could be a version of Alexsandr Badure, Solo’s mentor in the Han Solo Adventures books -- even though Lucasfilm has said that none of the previously published books are now considered canon.

The Han Solo movie will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) and in addition to Ehrenreich, also stars Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke in an unspecified role. It's supposed to begin production this month for a May 2018 release, although recent rumors hint that it could be moved to December of that year.