Ron Howard’s latest set photo from the young Han Solo spinoff movie confirms the Galactic Empire will have a presence in the film. Since taking over for the fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller in late June, the Oscar winning director has been drumming up excitement for his entry into the Star Wars franchise via several behind-the-scenes images that illustrate everything is running smoothly and everyone is having a fun time making the film. With Lucasfilm prioritizing The Last Jedi over Han Solo in terms of official marketing, Howard’s social media activity has been the lone source of damage control for the standalone following the infamous kerfuffle.
The filmmaker has already given fans their first look at Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian and the Millennium Falcon flying through hyperspace (among other revelations). To date, most of the publicity has focused on the protagonists of the picture, leaving the antagonists shrouded in mystery for the time being. That changes now, thanks to yet another picture courtesy of Howard. Viewers can expect to see some classic foes on the big screen again.
Taking to Twitter, Howard shared the following image of what seems to be an Imperial control panel with a helmet resting on top. Captioned “The Empire Looms Large,” this seems to be the director’s way of saying Han and company will have some Imperial entanglements to sort through during the movie.
The Empire, or some iteration of it, has served as the primary villains for six of the nine Star Wars films to date (including The Last Jedi). Some viewers may bemoan this decision as a sign of waning creativity, but it makes sense for a Han Solo origin story to include the Imperials in some capacity. This film is said to cover how the scoundrel formed his lifelong bond with Chewbacca, whom he rescued from captivity (referenced in the canon novel Life Debt). Fans of the old Expanded Universe know Han spent some time in the Imperial Academy before becoming a smuggler, so perhaps the anthology film will borrow some elements from Legends. Given that Han Solo is supposed to cover a period of six years, it’s possible the Empire is featured in small sections and isn’t the main enemy through the entire film. Han has flown from one side of the galaxy to the other, so some of those worlds were probably out of the Imperial reach.
Teases like this are enjoyable for fans, providing them with new content to speculate about, but they also raise the demand for something a little more concrete to be released. Considering all this film has been through, there is much anticipation to see the first Han Solo trailer, and many are wondering when an official preview will be released. At D23, Lucasfilm promised more information on the spinoff would come soon, which is a vague term. With all the focus on Episode VIII, it may not be until the holiday season (or later) we finally get our first real look at what Howard and crew have in store.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi release date: Dec 15, 2017
Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film release date: May 25, 2018
Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX release date: May 24, 2019