1. A GALAXY OF STARS WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE ROLE(S)
Before choosing Harrison Ford to play Han Solo in A New Hope, Star Wars director George Lucas auditioned several other well-known names for the role including Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone and – fantastically – Robert Englund (who shot to fame a decade later as razor-gloved Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare On Elm Street).
The part of young Han – which eventually went to Blue Jasmine’s Alden Ehrenreich – was just after sought after, with everyone from Now You See Me’s Dave Franco to Whiplash’s Miles Teller throwing their blaster into the ring.
2. ALDEN EHRENREICH WAS ALWAYS “THE GUY”
Original Solo: A Star Wars Story directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller knew they’d found their ‘young Han’ the moment they met Alden Ehrenreich.
In an exclusive interview with USA Today, Miller revealed: “He went against a lot of very strong competitors and was very consistently the guy, from minute one.”
3. GEORGE LUCAS PARTLY BASED THE CHARACTER ON HIS FRIEND FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA
Friends and business partners from an early(ish) age, Lucas admired how Coppola kept his counsel and charisma throughout the troubled productions of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. He gave Han the same cool-under-pressure trait, as well as his fellow director’s famous swagger.
4. HE’S FROM THE SAME PLANET AS WEDGE ANTILLES
Having lost his parents at a young age, Han grew up on the streets of Corellia – a planet located in the galaxy’s Core Worlds. Corellia is also the home of ace Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles and bounty hunter Dengar, and was where the Millennium Falcon was designed and made.
5. HE DEFINITELY SHOT FIRST
Who shot first in Mos Eisley Cantina – bounty hunter Greedo or Han? That’s a question that’s been debated more often than the chicken or egg dilemma (thanks to Lucas’ constant tinkering with the scene). But in an early draft of the Star Wars script (which surfaced online in 2015) only Solo pulls the trigger.
When asked about the controversy in a 2014 interview, Ford deadpanned: “I don’t know and I don’t care!”
6. THE CHARACTER ORIGINALLY LOOKED VERY DIFFERENT
In George Lucas’ very first Star Wars draft, Han wasn’t human, but rather a giant, green-skinned fish monster who also happened to be a Jedi. Would the saga have made such a splash if Lucas had continued down this road?
7. HARRISON FORD AD-LIBBED MANY OF HIS LINES
Unhappy with the scripts for the original trilogy, Harrison Ford ad-libbed many of Han’s classic scenes including telling Leia “I know” when the princess revealed that she loved him during The Empire Strikes Back’s carbonite encasing scene. And that quote became legend...
8. HAN ALMOST APPEARED IN EPISODE III
Lucas’ original outline for Revenge of the Sith including a brief Han Solo cameo. The character was 10 years old, living under Chewie’s watchful eye on the Wookiee’s home planet of Kashyyyk. The scene never made it past the concept art stage.
9. HE’S NOT THE ORIGINAL OWNER OF THE MILLENNIUM FALCON
That honour goes to Lando Calrissian. Hans wins the Falcon off the charismatic card sharp in a high-stakes game of sabacc. We’ll get to see that match-up in all its ill-tempered glory in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Watch the behind-the-scenes tour of the Falcon with Lando actor, Donald Glover.
10. THERE’S AN INTRIGUING FAN THEORY ABOUT ‘THAT’ SCENE
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FORCE AWAKENS.
According to some of the saga’s most devoted fans, Han Solo wasn’t killed by his son Ben in Episode VII, he actually committed suicide. Why? Because Ben is a double agent working against the Sith, and Han knows his death is the only way Snoke would believe Kylo Ren is a true follower. It’s the ultimate parental sacrifice.
This adds a whole new layer of meaning to their exchange in The Force Awakens when Kylo says, "I know what I have to do but I don't think I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?" Only time will tell whether this theory is true or not...