Woody Harrelson Joins The Han Solo Film Cast

by S. Atkinson
Alexander Koerner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Ready to enter into a new lightyear of Star Wars-inspired joy? Cool. That Hunger Games actor that you may or may not have a weird crush on will be joining the upcoming Han Solo movie set to hit cinemas next year. If you're wondering if this means Woody Harrelson will play Han's dad, you're probably not alone (or in that crush: it's fine).

Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said of the casting decision:

We couldn't be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody. His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.

Which — really — isn't surprising. Harrelson seems like a man with all the focus required of both great actors and ping pong players. But now to the cold, hard facts. If you're not up to speed with what the as of yet untitled Han Solo movie is about, well, the film takes place a decade before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (so, 10 years before Han Solo became acquainted with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, which led to him joining the rebellion). Donald Glover will be playing young Lando Calrissian while Alden Ehrenreich will be taking the titular role. Harrelson's role has not been explicitly announced, but we have some clues.

Alexander Koerner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

We also know that while Harrelson was in the talks-stage of considering joining the Good Team Solo, it was reported that he was considering playing "an early mentor" to Solo. So far, so laden with meaning, right? Because you know who you tend to have as a mentor when you're young? Yep, that person. That older male person who may be a family member. On top of that, as The Hollywood Reporter has already shrewdly acknowledged, the franchise has a bit of a preoccupation with "daddy issues": "Does Star Wars know any other way of motivating its lead characters?" Well, true.

While it's perfectly possible that Harrelson could be playing an Expanded Universe character, it also doesn't seem that likely. Bloomberg reported that Disney had decided to set aside the Expanded Universe in 2014. Given that this mentor figure doesn't appear in the canon movies afterward, it's also possible that Harrelson's character might not survive the movie. What would be more emotionally resonant than Han getting to know his father before losing him?

It might also explain why Han Solo eventually becomes a thief by Episode IV with the logic of the current canon. The same psychology could be at play in Rogue One where Jyn, full of promise as a child, grows up to become a criminal after her father is taken from her.

Maybe Harrelson won't be the father. We'll have to wait and see for more concrete casting announcements. But it'd make for a hell of an emotional narrative arc, so here's hoping.