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Han Solo just can’t help being a good guy — much to his disappointment.
Try as he might to live outside the law, to care about nothing, to embody his loner name, he finds himself inexorably pushed and pulled by the tractor beam of his own decency. Just when you think he’s gone forever, he comes back to save the day.
That’s now literally true. Fans saw his journey end in The Force Awakens, but with the stand-alone Solo: A Star Wars Story (out May 25) Han is returning to the fight.
Alden Ehrenreich is stepping into the cockpit for Harrison Ford, and the story rewinds the chronology to several years before the events of 1977’s original Star Wars. The filmmakers describe it as a Western crossed with a film noir, freighted with offbeat humor and set in the criminal underbelly of a galaxy being torn apart.
The Han movie is very Han about its arrival. It’s swooping in at the last minute with a first trailer and detailed revelations just a few months before release, and it all comes amid intense internal drama and second-guessing.
Original filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street) parted ways with Lucasfilm over creative clashes that led to obvious upheaval in the midst of production. Oscar-winner Ron Howard, who has followed Star Wars ever since George Lucas first described his plan for it on the set of 1973’s American Graffiti, jumped in to pilot the movie home.
With luck and some skill — which Han always counted on in equal measure — this bumpy flight will smooth out in the end.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy describes Solo as “a heist, gunslinger type movie.” That roller coaster-like train in the trailer is called The Conveyex, and Han has to prove his hoodlum bona fides by stealing something (we don’t know what) from on board.
“He might be a little more immature, he may be a little less experienced, and he may hone his cynicism over time, but he’s very wary,” she says. “He needs to gain the respect of the people he interacts with, even if they’re the lowest of the low.”
Along the way he will befriend “walking carpet” Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), fall head over heels for shadowy Qi’ra (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke), and cross paths with Lando Calrissian (Atlanta’s Donald Glover stepping into the cape of Billy Dee Williams) and his droid sidekick L3-37 (played via motion capture by Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.)
The wannabe smuggler will also face career crooks Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), blaster-toting Val (Thandie Newton), and crime boss Dryden Vos (played by Paul Bettany).
If you’re trying to figure out who’s good and who’s bad, you’re not alone. “I think that’s exactly what Han’s trying to do throughout the film,” Ehrenreich says.
Get a look at the cover below. And check back to EW.com this week for much more, including Q&As with the actors, a batch of new photos, and details on the sometimes uplifting and sometimes harrowing making of the movie.
Later today: An interview with Alden Ehrenreich.
Tomorrow: Q&A with Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke and a full rogue’s gallery of the hoodlums, grifters, and troublemakers who inhabit Han’s corner of the galaxy.