While we sit on the verge of the first Star Wars movie that's not about somebody named Skywalker, many fans are even more curious about the film that will come after Star Wars: Episode VIII. What's going to happen when we see Han Solo played for the first time by somebody else? At this point, we know several of the pieces that will go into the as-yet-untitled Han Solo movie, but we have no idea how those parts will come together into something that is both fresh and new AND the familiar Han Solo that we know.
Here's everything that we know about Han Solo: A Star Wars Story or whatever the heck they're going to call it.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were set as Christmas movies, the plan was for Star Wars: Episode VIII to shift the release schedule of the franchise to the summer. While Episode VIII was delayed back into Christmas, the Han Solo film is still set for a release early in the summer movie season, on May 25, 2018. This will follow the release of Avengers: Infinity War on May 4 and How to Train Your Dragon 3 on May 18. In the weeks following Han Solo's release, we'll see the Transformers film that is set to focus on Bumblebee and the all female Oceans 11 spinoff, Ocean's Eight, the following week. Disney will be back only two weeks later with The Incredibles 2 from Pixar on June 15.
This far out we have no idea what the Han Solo movie could be rated. Traditionally, Star Wars has been a PG franchise, however, both the final episode of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens received PG-13 ratings. The same was true of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the only previous Star Wars spinoff. This would seem to indicate that PG-13 may be where future Star Wars movies expect to be, and it's a good bet for Han Solo as well.
At this point, we only have bits and pieces that imply what the movie will be about. J.J. Abrams, who is the keeper of all things Star Wars, has intimated that the movie will take place somewhere around 10 years prior to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. This potential time period is interesting because it sits basically smack in between the end of the prequel trilogy and the beginning of the original trilogy. The Empire will exist, and as a decent force, but not nearly at the level of power that they have in Star Wars: A New Hope. While many have likely thought that the Han Solo film will try to recapture the look and feel of the original trilogy, in the same way that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in many ways, the fact is that the Han Solo movie could look unlike anything we've seen in Star Wars before. Separate from both trilogies in equal measure.
One story point that has been rumored is that the movie would depict Han Solo winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. Even if true, we can't really see the entire film being about that, so this would likely be one plot point among several. However, the news that Lando Calrissian will be a character in the film does lend some credibility to the idea.
We also know that Han Solo's mentor will be a major character in the film, so we can expect to see how Han learned the skills to become a smuggler.
A lot of Han Solo's backstory has been told through the Extended Universe of books and comics. While all the books that were written prior to Disney purchasing Lucasfilm have been deemed non-canonical, a handful of characters and events that started in that world have been repurposed by Disney, so it's possible that the story this movie will deal with is out there someplace in the canon already.
We know that Chewbacca will be a character in the new film as well. Will the movie have them be working together already when it starts, or will the movie tell us how the two came together? We would guess that something like that is possible, but we have no clear idea what direction the film is going at this point.
Based on something the writer has said (more on the next page) we'd guess that the movie will start sometime before Han Solo was a professional smuggler and will explain what events led him on the path that eventually placed him at the Mos Eisley cantina.