A week and a half ago, it felt like Solo: A Star Wars Story might be in trouble. The release date was a mere few months away, but we’d seen nothing of the film at all - not a single frame, let alone footage, and only the littlest of teases from director Ron Howard and the cast.
Now there’s LOADS. You can’t MOVE on the internet for interviews with the stars, publicity stills and teaser trailers. So, what can we piece together from what everyone’s said to various outlets?
Here’s what we know about the characters we’re going to be meeting.
Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson)
It’s weird how in Star Wars half the characters have wacky sci-fi names and half of them are called, like, Luke and Ben. Tobias up here has a pretty Earth-like name and functions as a mentor figure to young Han.
Ron Howard told Entertainment Weekly: “He’s a powerful criminal, but a free agent. Tobias Beckett really shapes Han more than anybody, as Han comes to realise that in a lawless time he needs to try to come to terms with some kind of moral code.” The writers apparently based him on Long John Silver from Treasure Island.
Val (Thandie Newton)
The vast majority of Newton’s time shooting Solo was spent with the first directors, Christopher Lord and Phil Miller. She told Entertainment Weekly: “[Lord and Miller’s] work is everywhere in it. 90% of my stuff is with them. And it certainly wasn’t about, ‘Oh we have to start again and do it all over.’”
Her character, Val, is partners with Harrelson. “They’ve been partners a long time,” says producer Kathleen Kennedy. Co-writer Jon Kasdan describes her as ‘skeptical’ and says her relationship with Han “goes in an interesting direction”.
Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany)
Vos was originally played by The Wire’s Michael K. Williams before extensive reshoots under Ron Howard clashed with another commitment Williams had.
In the only picture we’ve seen of Bettany, posted on Twitter by Ron Howard, he looks all dapper, but it isn’t clear whether he’s in character or Paul Bettany just likes to dress nicely. That collarless shirt looks pretty familiar though - Dryden Vos might find himself inspiring Han Solo’s later fashion choices.
The character was definitely an alien when Williams was playing him. Bettany described his character quite simply: “I am a very cool intergalactic gangster.” Jon Kasdan says: “It’s a sort of combination of class and swagger and real danger. He’s way deeper in the crime world than anyone else that we meet in the movie.”
Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke)
Emilia Clarke’s character is an old friend of Han’s, that for various reasons he never mentions in the later films. “They grew up as comrades, essentially” Clarke told EW. “There is obviously the romantic side of things, but they were kids together. Something must have happened to affect him as a person, but for us fans not to know about her.
“Twists happen, and you see the beginnings of him, this loveable rogue. Qi’ra is one of those relationships that has an impact on him as a character. And within that relationship, every time you think you’ve got her number you realise you haven’t at all.
“The goal is that the shadow of Qi’ra is there in Han as a character that we know. This girl is another texture that makes up who he is when we first meet him. Whilst it is Han Solo’s movie, this girl gets to be badass.”
L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge)
Performed via motion-capture by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, L3-37 seems to have the worst internet-joke name ever, but has several qualities that make her unique among droids.
First, she’s female, which none of the major droid characters have been. Secondly, she’s self-made. “She’s a self-modified droid,” says Kasdan. “The idea is that she’s sort of a mutt, if you will, of various parts of different kinds of droids who has improved upon herself. She has a working relationship with Lando, and it’s very sophisticated and informed by years of working together. L3 is subservient to no one, which is a fun kind of droid to write.”
Donald Glover told the magazine: “I think they are both kind of self-made, and they get each other that way. [Their relationship is] lovingly contentious.”