han solo movie

Yesterday it was revealed that Woody Harrelson is in early talks to play an early mentor of Han Solo’s in Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s upcoming still-yet-to-be-titled Star Wars spinoff. But the question is, who would Woody be playing? Is there a character in Star Wars canon or expanded universe (aka Legends) that fits the description of the role Harrelson is in talks for? Take a dive into our Woody Harrelson Han Solo character speculation, after the jump.

Woody Harrelson is the Colonel in War for the Planet of the Apes

Woody Harrelson Han Solo Character Speculation

Most of the story material for Han Solo’s past is no longer part of Disney’s Star Wars canon. As you know, when the Mouse House purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas, they decided to classify all of the previous expanded universe as Legends, removing much of it from Star Wars canon.

Of course, as Star Wars Rebels reminds us, “there is always a bit of truth in Legends.” And as we’ve already seen in that Disney XD animated series, Grand Admiral Thrawn has been reintroduced into the new canon. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, they made a huge deal of all the characters and stories they were acquiring, and it seems like they will pick and choose what they want to take from the previous expanded universe.

It’s very possible that screenwriters Jon and Lawrence Kasdan used the old Star Wars expanded universe stories as a starting point when writing the Han Solo movie for directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. But it’s also possible that he might be playing an entirely new character not featured in Legends. Remember when they were casting the female lead for the film and we all assumed it might be Sana Starros, a character from Han Solo’s past who was introduced in the new Star Wars comic books. The casting of Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke seems to debunk that popular theory.

But for now lets consider the possibilities and speculate.

 A.C. Crispin’s novel The Paradise Snare

Garris Shrike

So which expanded universe character might Woody Harrelson be playing in the Han Solo movie? The best candidate for the role would be Garris Shrike, who was essentially Han Solo’s entry point into a world of crime.

Garris first appeared in A.C. Crispin’s novel The Paradise Snare, (check out that beautiful Drew Struzan cover art above). The character was a bounty hunter-turned smuggler who raised the orphaned Han Solo as part of a group of children he used in confidence tricks and thefts, based aboard the decommissioned troopship Trader’s Luck in orbit over Corellia. Shrike rescued the young Han Solo from the streets, raised him, trained him, and “beat him profusely when aggravated.”

We’ve heard that the Han Solo movie will take place nearly a decade before the events of A New Hope, which seems to fit with the timeline of the novel which also begins around this same time. Solo had a confrontation with Shrike in which Shrike’s brother Larrad was injured, and Shrike killed Dewlannamapia, the Wookiee who had served as Solo’s mother figure. Solo fled from Trader’s Luck and didn’t see Shrike until years later when he tried to tack Solo down to get a large bounty. Garris captured Solo on Coruscant but ended up shot and killed by a competing bounty hunter.

But Garris Shrike is not the only character that could fit this new role.

The Han Solo Adventures trilogy

Alexsandr Badure (aka Trooper)

There is a character named Alexsandr Badure (aka Trooper) from The Han Solo Adventures trilogy, which was published in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Written by Brian Daley, the series followed the smuggling days of Han Solo and Chewbacca set a couple of years before the events of A New Hope. Trooper meets the young Han while he’s serving with the Imperial Academy, where he teaches him how to hone his flying skills.

According to Wookieepedia, Alexsandr fought during the Corellian Territories Engagements and the Outer Rim Sieges of the Clone Wars, for the Galactic Republic before joining the Galactic Empire.

“At some point during Han Solo’s time as an officer, Badure gave Solo the nickname Slick, working at the Academy of Carida. He taught Solo much of his flying skills while he was on Carida. After leaving the military he saved Solo and Chewbacca after an aborted spice run to Kessel. He later convinced Han and Chewbacca to help him find the fabled treasure of the Queen of Ranroon. Badure was an imposing man, standing half a head taller than 1.8 meters. In his old age, his hair was turning completely white, and he had gain excessive belly weight. Despite that, Badure’s grip had remained firm, and he was still capable of making a much younger man wince while giving a handshake. Badure also had a sly squint and a gravelly voice in accordance with his cunning and gruff personality.”

But Han Solo’s stint in the Imperial Academy was infamously short-lived. Solo was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged after saving an enslaved Wookiee named Chewbacca. And we do know that we’ll find out how Han Solo meets Chewbacca in this origin film, and we are aware the life-debt is canon.

Are we missing any other options from the Star Wars expanded universe? Do you think Woody Harrelson will be playing one of these roles from Star Wars Legends or will he be playing a wholly new character not based on these characters? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The untitled Han Solo film starring Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Alden Ehrenreich as Han will be released sometime in 2018. Originally set for Summer 2018, it’s now rumored the film will hit theaters in December.

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