It’s still hard to get over the fact that Disney decided to do a Han Solo prequel for their next Star Wars anthology film. I think it’s bad enough that they’re containing themselves in the established timeline and established galaxy when they could be exploring so many other places, but to restrict themselves even further to a character we’ve already seen played young by Harrison Ford some 35-plus years ago is even crazier.
Can it work? Of course it can. But the filmmakers are facing an uphill battle. But as difficult a job they’ll have, perhaps the toughest job of all falls on shoulders of actor Alden Ehrenreich’s — the man chosen to play young Han. Audiences have had decades to settle into Harrison Ford’s Han, and all of a sudden, they’re going to be forced to dismiss what they’ll initially feel is a pale imitation. But, it’s not all bad news. The talent they have on board to helm the project — LEGO MOVIE director Phil Lord and Chris Miller — are more than fit for the job. They understand the weight this flick will carry, and didn’t take the casting of Ehrenreich lightly.
Speaking with USA Today, the duo opened up about the hoops Ehrenreich had to jump through to get the gig as Han solo.
“That guy pretty much went through an audition pentathlon; it was like an acting steeplechase. He went against a lot of very strong competitors and was very consistently the guy from minute one. He was the first person who auditioned out of thousands, and just out of the box, made you believe that someday he’d grow into the character we know.”
Those are some big words, but Ehrenreich has already proven his worth to some audiences. Earlier this year, he starred in the disappointing Coen Brothers film Hail, Casear! While the movie failed to impress, Ehrenreich certainly stood out as a highlight of the picture, playing a simple, Southern, hardworking actor in a cutthroat industry.
Given his strong performance in that film, I can see him disappearing into a new interpretation of the Han Solo we all love. Will it hold up to the performance Ford gave? No. And it shouldn’t. This one will have to be a different entity in and of itself. It should stand on its own, separate from Harrison Ford's portrayal. With a little luck, perhaps the outcome will be enough to spawn his own trilogy — and soon folks won’t be able to un-see Han as Ehrenreich plays him.
That, of course, is the best case scenario, but it does no one any good to be pessimistic. The directors are amazing, the writers (Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon) are just as talented, so when all said and done, the only thing that inspires doubt is the fact that the role has been played before.
Let’s hope the film will do its job and help audiences forget all other interpretation of Han.
The Han Solo anthology film hits theaters on May 25, 2018.
SOURCE: USA Today