May the 4th roundup: Blasters, severed hands and more

@chrizmillr: Can't wait to get "shooting"! #MayThe4thBeWithYou
@chrizmillr: Can’t wait to get “shooting”! #MayThe4thBeWithYou
Chris Miller, one of the directors of the upcoming Han Solo standalone, celebrated May the 4th by sharing a shot of Han’s iconic blaster. It’s not casting news, but we’ll take it. Episode VIII director Rian Johnson – who is currently shooting – opted for dry humor.

→ Remember the old Episode VII rumor about Luke’s hand floating through space? Well, in yesterday’s Sun interview, Mark Hamill confirmed that it was indeed in the script at one point. On that note, Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff takes a look back at The Force Awakens and the challenges of making a remake/revival fun. Meanwhile, io9 is looking for VIII clues in yesterday’s Daisy Ridley video.

→ Chuck Wendig shares the first line of Aftermath: Life Debt. ComicBook.com has the first look at The Force Awakens comic adaptation. It’s scripted by Wendig, but the preview features only Luke Ross’s interior art.

John Jackson Miller talks about writing Star Wars with Omni.

→ Room’s Jacob Tremblay is fishing… He did get a response from one future Star Wars director, so that’s promising.

→ R2-D2 and C-3PO hung out in Entertainment Weekly’s elevator.

→ The Revenge of the Sith soundtrack is getting a limited release on vinyl.

→ StarWars.com has a look at upcoming The Force Awakens Funko Pop figures, including General Leia and Luke Skywalker.

→ And finally, my favorite new product: Star Wars Tiki cups.

Chewbacca will be part of the young Han Solo movie

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Disney CEO Bob Iger today referred to Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 2018 standalone as “an origin story about Han and Chewie,” our first official word that the Wookiee will be part of the film. Is this what Peter Mayhew’s script bonanza on Twitter been leading up to?

In the old Legends universe, the two met while Han was serving in the Imperial military and Chewbacca was a slave. Han’s refusal to kill the Wookiee led to their eventual partnership and Chewbacca’s life debt – elements that may or may not be incorporated into the film. (I’d bet on not, but stranger things have happened.) In the current canon, there’s nothing on record about Chewbacca’s life between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. – or Han’s before ANH, though he was in consideration for ROTS.

So, the next question: Young Lando?

Han Solo standalone still on for May 2018 release: Episode VIII has begun filming

han-anhDisney’s earnings call yesterday, CEO Bob Iger said that the release date for 2018’s Han Solo standalone will remain in May – at least for the moment – despite Episode VIII’s pushback to December.

He revealed that filming has begun on VIII, and that The Force Awakens tie-ins have earned the company more than $3 billion globally. Hopefully this means we’ll get a dedicated announcement and updated cast list very soon…

Filming on the next Star Wars film, December’s Rogue One, is “virtually completed.” He also confirmed that Disney will break ground on the new Star Wars attractions at Disneyland and Disney World later this year. (A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of one of the attractions showed up in a commercial for the Disneyland 60 TV special.)

Rumor: Han Solo spinoff has a shortlist

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Variety claims that Lucasfilm has narrowed down the possible actors for the upcoming young Han Solo film to a dozen names.

Sources tell Variety that after seeing thousands of actors, execs have cut the list down to about a dozen actors with Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, “Brooklyn” star Emory Cohen and “Everybody Wants Some” actor Blake Jenner among the names making the cut.

Variety’s sources also claim the rush could be to get the new Han into Rogue One for a cameo.

The solo Solo film, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, is currently scheduled for a May 25, 2018 release.

While everyone is freaking out over this shortlist, Drew McWeeney has the right idea.

Everyone is auditioning for young Han Solo

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There are a lot of names in this story from The Hollywood Reporter on the many actors who are vying for a shot at the role of young Han Solo. So many names. I wouldn’t count on anyone making the finals yet, though:

“This has been the easiest movie to audition for,” says an agent with a client who has auditioned. “They are seeing everyone.”

We do learn that the film’s code name is “Red Cup.” (Naturally!)

The young Han Solo spinoff film will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller from a script by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan. It’s expected to begin shooting in January 2017. The release date has been announced as May 25, 2018.

Roundup: The broadsaber is venting, and other things we learned about The Force Awakens this week

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Between Wired’s J.J. Abrams interview, Entertainment Weekly and all those TV spots, we seem to have officially entered the “faster, more intense” phrase of The Force Awakens marketing. (No, you haven’t seen too much, calm down.) Here’s some stuff that got sidelined:

dland-broadsaber→ Settle your bets: The crossguard blades on Kylo Ren’s lightsaber “are raw power vented from the primary central blade,” per the description on display at Disneyland’s Star Wars Launch Bay. (IGN has a tour.) We already knew he built it himself, but the design is “ancient.” (via Reddit)

→ Speaking of Kylo, we haven’t seen much of Adam Driver lately, but he did tell Vulture that he found SDCC to be “intense” and “surprisingly moving.”

→ The Force Awakens is skipping some early award shows, says The Wrap, but the only one here you may have heard of is the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It will be out in time for consideration for the Academy Awards.

Variety says there was indeed new music from The Force Awakens in the Shondaland spot.

→ The cover for The Force Awakens novelization has been spotted on the Random House catalog (by Roqoo Depot first, I believe) and it’s… The poster. ‘Kay.

And in other movies…

→ Could Episode VIII return to Ireland? We know they’ve already shot on Skellig Michael, RTE thinks they’re looking at another location in County Kerry as well.

Jedi News claims to have the codename for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s Han Solo spinoff.

Han Solo standalone will be Kasdan’s last Star Wars

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“I have now made four Star Wars movies. That’s more than enough,” Lawrence Kasdan told the German tabloid Bild (via The Hollywood Reporter.)

Kasdan co-wrote and produced The Force Awakens, co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and will be co-writing the upcoming Han Solo film with his son Jon.

The solo Solo film is due out May 25, 2018 and will be directed by The LEGO Movie’s Christopher Miller and Phil Lord.

How old will Han Solo be in his Anthology movie?

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Han’s prequel won’t go back quite as far into his past as The Phantom Menace did with Anakin Skywalker. Han will “definitely be probably in the high teens, low 20s,” Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re not introducing you to a 10-year-old Han Solo.” She also hints as to the tone of the film, but as for plot? What should remain a mystery?

“Those are exactly the questions we’re asking,” Kennedy says. “There’s got to be a reason for [the stand-alone film] to be. And obviously the thing that Star Wars has always done so well is it doesn’t spend a lot of time [explaining] the stories that have come before. We don’t want to do that either. We don’t want to spend time going back and answering a lot of questions that, quite frankly, I don’t think people want answered.”

The film was one of several ideas floating around, and it appealed to was Lawrence Kasdan:

“They said, ‘Here are the things that we’d like to make movies about,’ and I said, ‘Oh, well, Han Solo. I would write a movie about Han Solo. He’s always been my favorite.’ And that’s the job that I took,” Kasdan says.

As for the now-third Anthology movie, the one developed by Simon Kinberg, it’s still in the mix. (And rumored to be about Boba Fett, but isn’t everything?) They haven’t hired a new director to replace Josh Trank yet, but it will likely come out in 2020.

And there’ll be yet more Star Wars out of EW tomorrow…