Disney and Lucasfilm are currently gearing up for the first spin-off/non-saga entry into the Star Wars world with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie follows a quest to steal the plans to the Death Star ahead of the events in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. This will not be the only film set ahead of the original trilogy as part of Lucasfilm’s current plans to expand the reaches of the galaxy far, far away. Their next spin-off (the as-of-yet untitled young Han Solo movie) will bring Han Solo back to the screen, but this time Alden Ehrenreich will be playing the iconic smuggler.
Ehrenreich will not be alone in this endeavor as directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller will help guide him through their story, which will feature Donald Glover playing a young Lando Calrissian and a female lead that has a yet to be cast. Surprisingly enough, Hoosiers also helped calm his fears just moments before boarding the Millennium Falcon for the first time.
In a recent interview with Fandango, Ehrenreich was asked about the first time he stepped foot on one of the most recognizable ships in cinema history. Thanks to a Hoosiers reference from Lord, he was able to feel more at ease.
“[Co-director] Phil Lord made a joke and it turned out, for me, it was not a joke. He said this is like that scene in Hoosiers where [Gene Hackman] takes the kids out to the basket — and I’m gonna botch this line — but he says something like, ‘How many feet up is that basket? Ten feet. And how many feet is it back home? It’s the same.’ [Phil] said that as we were walking up the ramp, and it helped. [Phil] saying that really meant a lot to me, and it clues you in to the fact that this is the same job. This is the job you get to do.”
As part of the rigorous testing process that Ehrenreich went through to get the job, he was able to go inside the Millennium Falcon before he was even cast. While taking his first steps through the ship was daunting enough, it was also odd for the actor because of how familiar he was with it already.
“What’s odd about [being on the Millennium Falcon] is that it’s all so familiar. I mean I’ve known it since I was a kid — I played make-believe as a kid, pretending that I was on it. So the fact that I already know the world so well, there’s a comfort in that and a real excitement. I mean I got to work with Chewbacca for my screen test. I can’t think of another form of transportation that is so beloved in film.”
If there is one thing that continues to be apparent from Ehrenreich talking about the movie, it is that he understands the pressure that comes with the role. However, it does not appear as if that is going to overwhelm him throughout the process and instead seems to be enjoying the opportunity that he has been given.
No matter how much he looks like a young Han Solo, or says the right things, or interacts with the Falcon and Chewbacca, Ehrenreich will have a difficult time supplanting Harrison Ford. Ford is Solo for so many people, that Ehrenreich has the seemingly impossible task of being his own person and giving his take as an actor, but also matching how Ford plays him in the original trilogy and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Force Awakens. All Ehrenreich can do now is not worry about other people’s expectations for his performance and instead hope that his performance will win over audiences.