Star Wars Confirms It Will Not Repeat Same Mistake With The Young Han Solo Recasting
Following the failure of the anthology film, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy assures that Star Wars would not repeat the tradition of young Han Solo recasting
Alden Ehrenreich starred as the titular character in Solo: A Star Wars Story, with Donald Glover replacing Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Joonas Suotamo reprising his role as Chewbacca from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandiwe Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Paul Bettany making their franchise debuts. Original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were sacked over creative disputes with Lucasfilm and replaced by Ron Howard, with the budget skyrocketing to a whopping $300 million, making it one of the most costly films of all time. Critics gave Solo: A Star Wars Plot mixed to good reviews, praising its characters, particularly Ehrenreich and Glover, as well as its score and action sequences, while its story and tone were heavily criticized, and film went on to flop at the box office.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy discussed the teenage Han Solo recasting for the 2018 anthology film based on the character in an extensive Star Wars article with Vanity Fair. When questioned if other legendary characters would undergo the same treatment, Kennedy assured that the Star Wars series will not be recasting any other characters in the same spirit, having learnt their lesson following the failure of Solo. Here's what Kennedy said:
“There should be moments along the way when you learn things. Now it does seem so abundantly clear that we can’t do that.”
Given that Harrison Ford was in his early 30s when the franchise launched, the revelation of a youthful Han Solo film was received with mixed reactions from Star Wars fans, with some arguing that such a movie was not only superfluous but would also remove some of the mystique from the character's background. The news that Lord and Miller had been fired from the project due to creative differences with the studio lowered expectations even more, with some believing they were a good fit for the film after their success with the 21 Jump Street and Lego Movie franchises, and that Ron Howard was too safe a choice to replace them. This mistrust would eventually be the film's undoing, as Solo only made $393 million against a projected $275 million production budget, resulting in a $76.9 million loss for the company.
With Lucasfilm clarifying that future Star Wars productions would not follow Solo's lead in recasting characters with a younger actor, it raises questions about the studio's plans for Justin Simien's Disney+ Lando Calrissian series. Despite the film's poor reception, Donald Glover's portrayal of a young Lando was widely praised by critics and audiences, prompting some to hope for his return in the limited series, while Billy Dee Williams' return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has left some wondering if he will lead the show. Given Glover's recent statements, it appears like Kennedy and Lucasfilm have at least studied what people thought worked and what didn't in Solo.
Source: Vanity Fair