Star Wars: We Have Our Young Han Solo

Here's a bit of news about the upcoming Han Solo film. 

Well, it's official. After some rumors in recent weeks, Disney announced Alden Ehrenreich as the new Han Solo for an expected Star Wars spinoff. When we first started learning about Disney's plan for the Star Wars empire, it became apparent that this was about more than a new trilogy. Spinoff films were announced fairly early on, with fans speculating about everything from character origin stories to stories that would fill gaps in the existing series. We're getting the latter this winter, when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will tell the tale of how the Rebels stole the Death Star plans immediately before the events of A New Hope.

But we didn't really know anything for sure early on in the process, and most of the speculation centered around Episode VII, which came out last December. In particular, Han Solo was the subject of a lot of people's questions and expectations in advance of that film. Before we learned the details of Episode VII, there were even betting markets reacting to the fact that Harrison Ford had said he was open to returning to the role. Odds were set for a number of the original characters returning to their roles, and it really wasn't until the final year leading up to Episode VII's release that we found out Ford was definitely going to be back in action. In the end, he wound up being a key character in the film.

In the past six months or so, we've seen a somewhat similar process of speculation concerning Han Solo in a different light. It was revealed some time ago that another of the spinoff films would indeed be a Han Solo origin story, and thus the question on most fans' mind quickly became not whether or not Harrison Ford would be involved, but who could play a young Han Solo. In most people's estimation, Han is one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history. It was a virtual certainty that whoever wound up with the role would get an unprecedented career boost.

And now we know that that lucky actor will be 25-year-old Alden Ehrenreich. From a final shortlist that included the likes of Taron Egerton, Jack Reynor, Miles Teller, and Dave Franco, Ehrenreich got the role in what directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller called the hardest casting challenge of all time. It's an extraordinarily bold choice given Ehrenreich's relatively limited exposure thus far. The young actor (and now future star) appeared in Blue Jasmine in 2013 but had his first and only major role in 2015's Hail, Caesar! in which he played the dumb but lovable movie star Hobie Doyle. Ehrenreich has an old, classic Hollywood look about him and oozed charisma in Hail, Caesar!, but one assumes the character of Hobie Doyle was nothing like a young Han Solo.

And that means we have no idea what to expect from this performance! Ehrenreich is clearly talented and it's crystal clear that the folks behind this upcoming film went about the decision with the utmost care. But now all the pressure in the world is on Ehrenreich's shoulders, and if he wins fans over as a young Han Solo he could quickly shoot to the top in Hollywood.