Star Wars fans had a lot of questions when it was first announced that Disney was set to purchase Lucasfilm – with the intention of producing an entirely new trilogy in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. However, one of the biggest questions surrounding the future of Star Wars is where the story would go in Episodes 7-9. Would the new films continue the narrative established in the original six installments and bring back fan-favorite actors (now 30 years older) to reprise their characters or would Lucasfilm clean the slate and center the trilogy around entirely new faces?
Now, we’re getting unofficial word that Harrison Ford has signed-on to reprise his role as Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode 7 – lending credence to hopes that the film will directly continue storylines from the prior trilogy – while introducing new characters too. Of course, if the rumor turns out to be true, it would likely mean that other high-profile casting announcements are also in the pipeline.
Now that director J.J. Abrams is officially helming Episode 7, Star Wars-related rumors and reports are at an all-time high. Joining the chorus of unconfirmed reports on the production, Latino Review took to the Fox News Latino airwaves and announced that, according to their sources, Harrison Ford has officially signed-on for a “significant” appearance as Han Solo in Episode 7. Not entirely a big surprise, given that Ford has previously stated he’d be open to returning – if the story would allow for it. When pressed for further information, Latino Review admitted that there scoop was limited to the signing of Han Solo and anything beyond the casting itself would purely be speculation at this point. Latino Review has a relatively successful record with their scoops – so there’s more than enough reason to believe that there’s at least some truth to the report.
So what role will Han Solo play in Michael Arndt’s upcoming Star Wars: Episode 7 story? Assuming that use of the word “significant” was deliberate (and accurate), it’s safe to say that Harrison Ford won’t just appear in a flashback or be viewable shooting a Rodian (first) in the background of a future cantina scene. Where Lucasfilm intends to take the character down the line (for Episodes 8 and 9) is still up in the air but, for Episode 7, it’s pretty safe to say that Ford will have a central role – especially if the film deals in some way with Han Solo and Princess Leia’s children (Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin Solo) as many have speculated.
A lot of fan-favorite Star Wars Extended Universe fiction centers around the Solo children and, even if Episode 7 doesn’t directly follow any one specific storyline (i.e. possible female protagonist – aka Jaina), they could serve as a smart jumping off point for a new trilogy – not to mention provide an excuse for the return of other familiar faces: their mother, Leia (Carrie Fisher), Jedi Master Uncle Luke (Mark Hamill), and Wookie Uncle Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).
Early reports of the Disney purchase indicated George Lucas sat down with Fisher and Hamill ahead of the final acquisition – mentioning the possibility of Episode 7, 8, and 9. This led many fans and industry insiders to speculate that he might have been putting out feelers to see if they’d be open to returning. As a result, the Han Solo rumor (and possible story implications) makes all the more sense.
Of course, this isn’t the only Han Solo-related report that we’ve heard in the last few weeks. Disney has confirmed that in addition to the core trilogy event films, we’ll also be seeing regular standalone movies set in the Star Wars universe – with spin-offs possibly involving Boba Fett, Yoda, and a Seven Samurai-like Jedi movie from Zack Snyder. A Han Solo standalone film (a prequel) was also mentioned and has quickly become the most talked about option among fans who are eager to see the smuggler’s early days – or at the very least, see him make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs.
Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Episode 7 is a strong probability but Lucasfilm has yet to officially announce the casting. So, as with all unconfirmed reports, take this news with grain of salt for now.
Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.