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Principal photography begins on Han Solo standalone, release date is still May

StarWars.com has annouced that principal photography has begin on the Han Solo standalone, along with confirming rumored cast members Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It’s also the first time they’ve mentioned the release date in quite a while – and surprisingly, it’s still May 25, 2018.

If it does indeed remain May, this would be our first non-December release since Disney bought the franchise, and could signal a permanent move back to spring for Episode IX and beyond. The May release date will put Han just on the heels of Episode VII, The Last Jedi, which is out December 15, 2017.

The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca along with Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are directing, from a script by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan.

Roundup: J.J. Abrams addresses The Force Awakens’ throwback feel, Roger Guyett on VFX

tfa-rs-kylo-vader-smJ.J. Abrams discusses The Force Awakens with The Hollywood Reporter, including the criticisms that the film is too similar to A New Hope, and why it was important “to go backwards to go forwards.”

Today, Abrams was at TCA for Hulu’s 11.22.63, where he told Entertainment Weekly not to expect an extended edition of The Force Awakens and addressed the lack of Rey toys.

→ At Studio Daily, ILM VFX Supervisor Roger Guyett talks about the film’s visual effects, including the Falcon on Jakku.

The Force Awakens has opened strong in China with a record $33M Saturday opening. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there’s some real box office competition this weekend thanks to The Revenant. Who wins? Either way, Domhnall Gleeson.

→ Speaking of actors, The Force Awakens has let Harrison Ford reclaim the title of highest grossing actor of all time from fellow Star Wars alumni Samuel L. Jackson.

→ Business Insider profiles Joonas Suotamo, who doubled for Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.

→ Award watch: John Boyega is a nominee for the BAFTA’s Rising Star award. TFA itself is up for BAFTAs in production design, sound, music and visual effects. The film is also up for a Costume Designers Guild Award.