Filmmakers Tease Details of Star Wars: Episode VIII and Han Solo Standalone

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Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of the forthcoming Han Solo standalone film, along with Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: Episode VIII, revealed a few details about their respective movies at the Future Filmmaker Panel yesterday in London, reports ABC News.

Lord and Miller invited Alden Ehrenreich onstage to officially present him to the public as the new Han Solo, as if we haven’t known for months. “This is the best-kept secret in Hollywood,” Lord joked upon introducing Ehrenreich.

Ehrenreich beat out 3,000 other actors for the coveted role of the Millennium Falcon captain, including Miles Teller, Ansel Egort and Dave Franco, among a list of other rising actors. The 26-year-old, previously known for parts in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and the Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar, was in fact the first person to audition, and did multiple screen tests alone and with Solo’s most trusted companion, Chewbacca.

John Boyega, Finn of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, made a surprise appearance on the panel and voiced his approval of Ehrenreich’s casting, saying, “Look at him, he’s smiling just like Han Solo.”

Lord and Miller also answered the question of why Han Solo is a good subject for A Star Wars Story film. Said Lord: “The dichotomy of this grouchy, seemingly cynical guy who has the biggest heart in the galaxy … to me, that’s a great character to make a movie about.”

“He’s a maverick, he’s a scoundrel, he’s clever, but he’s not smart,” Miller added. “And he wants to present himself as a cool tough-guy, but in the end he always does the right thing, and that’s why you love him so much.”

The Han Solo movie, due out May 25, 2018, will take place between Episode III and IV, like the forthcoming Rogue One, and will reveal Chewbacca’s backstory, in addition to Solo’s.

Episode VIII director Johnson didn’t let Han Solo have all of the attention: he answered a question that’s been plaguing Star Wars fans since we saw Luke Skywalker alone on that island at the end. He revealed that Episode VIII will pick up exactly where The Force Awakens left us.

“That final scene in VII, I want to see what happens next,” Johnson said, adding that Episode VIII is “where we start zooming in on the characters and getting to the heart of them, challenging them and pushing them deeper.”

Episode VIII wrapped filming on Friday, and is due out Dec. 15, 2017.

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