Disney executives are currently finalizing plans for a possible Star Wars Han Solo origin movie for release in 2016. According to Jay Rasulo, Disney’s Chief Financial Officer the origin movies will be devoted to the film’s franchise main characters like Solo, the bounty hunter Boba Fett and even the Jedi master Yoda. Star Wars, the epic space adventure franchise created by George Lucas has enjoyed successful run in the theaters as well as in the franchise business for more than 30 years already.
Han Solo (originally played by Harrison Ford), the rogue and shady pilot who was introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) will first be the focus of such origin movies. Succeeding movies thereafter will revolve around Yoda and Boba Fett for release in 2018 and 2020 respectively and if plans will push through.
Although initially a rumor, such plans for origin movies or spin-offs are slowly gaining ground to be realized anytime soon. In an investors’ conference of Disney stakeholders, Rasulo made a promise that new Star Wars movies would be released filling in the gaps between the releases of the main saga franchise. This means that after the release of Episode VII due for 2015, origin movies will take the center stage beginning with the story of a young Han Solo and how the character later joined forces with the other Star Wars protagonists. The Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams who also helmed the latest Star Trek movies.
Rasulo also added during the investors’ meeting held at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, Beverly Hills that, “the market is extremely hot for everything ‘Star Wars’.” This means that aside from the movie, money can also be made from theme parks and licensing deals, not just in the U.S. but internationally as well.
Disney purchased Lucasfilm, the owner of the 35-year old Star Wars franchise for $4 billion last year with the hope that the company can still make money from the sci-fi movie franchise. Rasulo told investors that the Star Wars brand is like a palette where they can create unlimited possibility and that “the sky’s the limit.” He added that the main strategy is releasing the main film first but supporting it with various franchising activities.
With the disappointing results of “The Lone Ranger” last summer, Disney is now careful on the budgets and placing a budget cap on franchise movies, Rasulo told the investors. The budget for the coming movies like the Star Wars Han Solo origin story for release in 2016 would be tighter, he hinted. But he also shared that the company is still capable and willing to invest in another round of purchases if these will accelerate market share citing previous acquisitions like Playdom and India’s UTV.
Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned that the origin movies for both Han Solo and Boba Fett are being written by Lawrence Kasdan, the co-writer of Episode V & VI and Simon Kinberg, the writer of X-Men: The Last Stand & X-Men: Days of Future Past. For the Han Solo movie, the story will take place between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV. While the Boba Fett story will take place between Episode IV and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
The challenge for the Han Solo movie is finding the right actor to play the young Solo or more specifically a young Harrison Ford. The Boba Fett character would not be so challenging if finding the right actor is concerned since the character always wear a full helmet totally covering his face. It is believed that the casting for the young Han Solo part has been going on for several months already, but due to the secrecy of the whole project little details are coming out.
The Han Solo origin was actually told way back in the 1990’s in the trilogy of science fiction novels written by Ann C. Crispin. The first two books Star Wars: The Paradise Snare and The Hutt Gambit were both released in 1997, while the third book Rebel Dawn was released in 1998. It is not clear if the movie version of Han Solo’s adventures will follow those found in the novels or will be totally something new. What is clear though at this point in time is the amount of excitement these announcements has created especially for the Star Wars fans. And what better way to whet the fans’ appetite than with the possible release of a Star Wars Han Solo origin movie for the year 2016. The fans hope that the current hype will live up to its high expectations.
By Roberto I. Belda