As well as busting and shattering box-office records worldwide, the welcome return of the Stars Wars franchise in 2015 has given the fans a fresh wave of excitement. Now under the helm of one of today’s most exciting director/producers and flourishing in a new age of digital media and technology, the franchise is still going strong nearly 40 years after it first emerged on cinema screens.
However, not content with being the third highest grossing film of all time — and slowly climbing — Star Wars: The Force Awakens has also ushered in a new breed of movie for the franchise — the origin movie. The first character to get such treatment will be none other than Han Solo, and come 2018, Harrison Ford won’t be the only actor who’s name is synonymous with the charming rogue as the character gets his very own solo outing. Many expect it to be a tough casting call to find an actor suitable to play the role — after all, Solo has only been linked to one actor for nearly four decades — and it’s this process that has shed some light on an earlier attempt to cast a young, inexperienced Han Solo — who was originally due to appear in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, according to George Lucas.
An actor was nearly picked in 2002, but it never came to pass. With constant script rewrites, the beloved space rogue never made into the final draft. However, the appearance of Solo could have tweaked a huge part of the Star Wars canon. Early versions of the screenplay for Revenge of the Sith show a 10-year old Han Solo wandering Chewbacca’s home planet of Kashyyyk. Described as merely a “fleeting appearance” by Den of Geek, the appearance has Chewie becoming a father figure to the young boy, eventually raising him like his own son, which is a serious change from the characters every Star Wars fans knows and loves.
The inclusion of Solo would have also proposed the intriguing meeting of two of the series most beloved characters — Han Solo and Yoda, a moment never seen on the screen. One can only imagine how true Star Wars fans would have reacted to this addition, with Revenge of the Sith usually considered the most significant and successful of the second trilogy. In fact, Lucas only had one solitary line of dialogue planned for Solo, which would have been the following, “I found part of a transmitter droid near the east bay. I think it’s still sending and receiving signals.”
Star Wars fans have seen George Lucas tinker with his/their beloved franchise on numerous occasions, so many will be thankful that Han and Chewie’s relationship never strayed into father-son territory. The idea of a young Han Solo did make it deep into the development process though, and concept artist Iain McCaig inked several pieces of Solo as a child. McCaig would have his say about Solo’s potential appearance in the concept publication, The Art Of The Revenge Of The Sith, which is available now.
“It’s not in the script anymore, but we were told that Han Solo was on Kashyyyk and that he was being raised by Chewbacca. He’s such a persnickety guy later on – he always has to have the best of everything – so I thought it’d be great if when he was a kid, he was an absolute slob.”
How would Revenge of the Sith have fared with such a change? Would it have made a negative impact on the franchise? No one will ever know, but knowing the loyal Star Wars fans, some things are best left untouched. The concept art for a young Han Solo can be seen below, and gives us a small hint of what we can expect from Solo as a kid. It remains to be seen if these concept visuals are used for the incoming origin movie.
As it stands, Han Solo didn’t feature in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, so the fans will have to wait until a young Solo takes cinemas by storm in 2018. With many A-list names currently circling the casting pot, and a massive spotlight on the franchise after a box-office busting performance, the next few months could be very interesting for Star Wars fans indeed.
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, the untitled Han Solo movie is scheduled to open May 25, 2018.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]