Say Hello to the New Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich

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Last month, we reported that up-and-coming actor Alden Ehrenreich was the frontrunner to play a young Han Solo in a Star Wars standalone film revolving around the character. Now, the space race is over: the 26-year-old Ehrenreich has officially been picked to play everyone’s favorite Millennium Falcon-helming intergalactic smuggler, the man who most definitely shot first.

The news, broken by Page Six, has since been confirmed by numerous other outlets—per The Hollywood Reporter, Ehrenreich is now “in final negotiations” for the role. “Alden really impressed Disney and Lucasfilm execs with his screen tests,” a source told Page Six. “The deal is basically done.” Ehrenreich beats out a laundry list of other actors who had been vying for the coveted role, including the likes of Taron Egerton, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Emory Cohen and Blake Jenner.

The Han Solo standalone film, currently without a title or any plot details, will be set prior to Episode IV (as will another forthcoming spinoff: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller will direct, with a script from Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jon, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy producing. Production is not expected to start until next January—per Variety, the late start is necessary so that Ehrenreich’s Solo can first appear in Rogue One, which is set for a Dec. 16 release.

Ehrenreich was a very pleasant surprise in the Coen Brothers’ uneven Hail, Caesar!, with his breakout performance sticking out as one of the film’s foremost bright spots. That bodes well for his taking up the mantle of arguably the Star Wars universe’s most beloved character. Offering sage advice last year to whomever would eventually be cast as young Solo, Harrison Ford said, “I would say, ‘Talk to your director. Watch the movies. And welcome aboard. Make it your own.’”

Ehrenreich’s Han Solo film is due out May 25, 2018.

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