Casting the inevitable Solo: A Star Wars Story prequel
Presented by: Caitlin Busch
Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story tells the tale of a 20-something Han as he begins his journey as one of the galaxy's most infamous smugglers. But what about Han pre-Solo?
Yes, we're thinking ahead, because that's how this works now. Lucasfilm and Disney are in the business of building a marketable franchise to last, and if they want to keep the same characters in the same canon, they have to always be thinking younger. As Deadpool says in Deadpool 2, franchise actors have to be "tough, morally flexible, forward-thinking, gender-neutral, and young enough to carry their own franchise for 10 to 12 years." If Solo is a hit, and people are into Alden Ehrenreich enough to demand more Han movies, then an ultra-young Solo movie might be in order. What about a Solo prequel? Why not, right? We live in the age of superheroic, family-friendly franchises. Let's go all out.
There are already some young Hollywood actors who are already working and almost perfect for the roles in Solo. And what about the title? Solo: The Early Years? Young Han? Solo Before Solo? Let us know if you have suggestions — obviously, this is a work in progress, as is this cast list.
Young Han Solo, Montana Jordan
Casting anyone other than Harrison Ford as Han Solo is heresy to some people, no matter how suited they are for the role. Fans are, understandably, picky. But, if we're going to cast an even younger version of Han for a prequel, may we suggest Montana Jordan? (Yes, we may.) Best known for his role as Georgie, Sheldon Cooper's older brother on CBS's amazing hit The Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon, he's already got a built-in fan base. And they all know that Jordan pulls off the casually lazy, cooler older brother trope pretty well. Plus, it's obvious that young Sheldon actor Iain Armitage would tag along as a young Luke Skywalker. They already have the bickering down pat.
Young Lando Calrissian, Caleb McLaughlin
Not only does McLaughlin have the eyebrows to contend with Donald Glover's iteration of the Star Wars universe's smoothest smuggler, he's also proven his acting chops on Netflix's Stranger Things time and time again. Over the course of two seasons, McLaughlin's Lucas Sinclair has captured viewers' hearts as the resident straight-shooter, the one who judges his friends' dumb decisions. He's already got the role down. This is a no-brainer.
Young(er) Chewbacca, Joonas Suotamo
Chewbacca has been one of the few consistencies in a series stretching three generations of Skywalkers. The faithful Wookiee hasn't changed much as his mostly human friends age and die before his eyes — so it makes sense that Joonas Suotamo would continue on the legacy, even if he'd be acting alongside a bunch of kids. (But, let's be honest, Han Solo is basically Chewy's reckless, hairless son already, right?)
Honorable mention: If we're treating the Solo prequel like a Baby Muppets-style film, then canon would fly out the window and everyone would be a kid. In that case, it only makes sense to cast Suotamo's adorable son. Suotamo posted a photo of his son, cuddled up in a Chewy onesie and sporting a porg plushie, to Instagram on April 1. In a few years, it seems like little baby Suotamo would be the perfect Chewbacca, especially if he takes after his dad. He's already got the costume and everything!
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Young Qi'ra, Mckenna Grace
As one of Hollywood's most prolific young indie actresses, Grace has delivered equally charming and heart-rending performances in Gifted and I, Tonya. She's set to play a role in Marvel's upcoming Captain Marvel, as well, most likely as a young Carol Danvers. Grace hasn't done too many action roles, but seeing as how she already had to figure skate in I, Tonya, playing Qi'ra probably wouldn't be too much of a stretch for her skills.
Young Val, Skai Jackson
The incomparable Thandie Newton has found a comfortable home in science fiction between Solo and Westworld, so finding a young actress to portray young Val is a challenge. Jackson has been a Disney Channel star thus far, but a role like this would give her a chance to branch out beyond her brand as the Disney kid with the adorable smile.
Young Beckett, Ty Simpkins
You probably know Simpkins from Jurassic World and Iron Man Three. And while Woody Harrelson's Beckett, Han's mentor, is a little older than Han, Lando, and Qi'ra, Simpkins has shown an affinity for dry humor and already stood alongside big stars like Chris Pratt and Robert Downey, Jr. He'd definitely be able to handle the role of the slightly older, more experienced member of the troupe.
Featuring a cameo by:
Young Leia Organa, Millie Bobby Brown
Stranger Things fans have been pointing to Brown as a spot-on young Leia contender for a while. As soon as fans caught wind of Brown's steady gaze and the skill with which she weaves subtle warmth into the mysterious, heroic Eleven, they've been begging Lucasfilm even more for a young Leia standalone film. Whether or not that actually happens, Brown would nail the role of a young Leia learning to navigate the ins and outs of high Imperial society. We're not sure how the cameo itself would work… but, hey, we can dream!