Star Wars: The Last Jedi has had its time in theaters, and just like how Rogue One arrived after The Force Awakens, now another standalone Star Wars movie is on the way, this time with the story centered on a notorious smuggler. 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 Solo: A Star Wars Story, 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 Solo: A Star Wars Story so far.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were set as Christmas movies, the plan was for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to shift the release schedule of the franchise to the summer. While Episode VIII was originally supposed to be a summer release, but later moved to December 2017, Solo: A Star Wars Story 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 Deadpool 2 on May 18. One week after the Han Solo movie's release, we'll see the all-female Oceans 11 spinoff, Ocean's 8, and 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 Solo: A Star Wars Story 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, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi 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 is where future Star Wars movies expect to be, and it's a good bet for Han Solo as well.
It's been confirmed that Solo: A Star Wars Story will depict Han meeting Chewbacca and crossing paths with "notorious gambler" Lando Calrissian, but other than that, specific story details are being kept under wraps. 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 been thinking that Solo: A Star Wars Story will try to recapture the look and feel of the original trilogy, in the same way that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story felt like its own thing, 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 movie, so we can probably expect to see how Han learned the skills to become a smuggler.
A lot of Han Solo's backstory has been told through the Expanded 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, and the recently released synopsis makes it sound like, instead of having them working together already when it starts, the new film tell us how the two came together. If that really is the case, it will certainly be interesting to see that bit of Star Wars lore finally come to life on the big screen.
Based on something the writer has said (more about that 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.