10 Storylines To Expect From The Han Solo Star Wars Spin-Off Movie

Update From Editor Peter Sciretta: The following post was published on February 7th 2013 after we first learned that Disney was developing a Star Wars spin-off standalone film that would follow a young Han Solo, set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. Now that it has been confirmed that a Star Wars Anthology film following a young Han Solo will be directed by Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller for a Summer 2018 release, I thought this might be worth republishing.

What would a Han Solo standalone original movie be about?

Sifting through the backstory established in the original trilogy, the elaborate expanded universe in the books and games, witht he help of Wookieepedia, we have some good ideas of what we might expect from this standalone tale.

How Old Will Han Be?

Harrison Ford was 33 years old when he started filming George Lucas' original Star Wars film, later subtitled A New Hope. The movie took place in 0 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) and Lucasfilm has published Han Solo's birth year as 29 BBY (Before battle of Yavin). Solo was originally supposed to appear in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as a ten-year old boy who helps Yoda find General Grievous' location. (Concept art from preproduction can be seen above). So this movie would take place somewhere between the age of 10 and the age of 35, a wide spread. Since this is an origin story, I think its pretty safe to assume Han will be in his late teens to early 20's (college-aged).

Will the Movie Stick to Expanded Universe Histories?

I think its pretty much assumed that the new movies will not stick to the expanded universe mythology created over the years in books, games and magazines. Lucas himself would borrow from the expanded universe, but write a completely different history in the prequels. The events in the movies have always been considered canon over the expanded universe history. But we can probably expect to see some key events to be borrowed from the expanded universe, and most notably from the "Han Solo Trilogy" of novels. (Includes Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn.)

How Han Solo and Chewbacca Meet

In the books, Han and Chewie first meet on an Empire slave ship while Lt. Solo is an Imperial pilot. Solo boards a derelict slaving craft to find that its cargo of Wookiee children had escaped, and a badly wounded Wookiee in the pilot's seat. Han is ordered to skin the helpless Chewbacca, but refuses. The duo escape punishment, with the assistance of the Rebel Alliance. Chewbacca had sworn a life debt to Han and wouldn't leave his side. Han was not happy to have Chewie around until the day Chewbacca saved Solo from a beating after being caught cheating. This event brought the duo became much closer.

Why Han is A Non-Believer

In A New Hope, Han tells Luke that "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Solo seems to be the Star Wars galaxy equivalent of atheist, probably the result of something that happened to him when he was younger. In the books, Solo got his start piloting under the alias Vykk Draygo working for the High Priests. But he eventually discovered the true nature of the operation was a scam designed to lure Pilgrims into becoming slaves.

The Origins of Han's Smuggling Days

I'm sure we will likely see how Han Solo became a pilot and a smuggler in some capacity. In the books, Solo was a beggar and pickpocket throughout much of his youth, doing whatever he could to get by.

The Love Life of Han Solo

We will likely see the early days of the Corellian ladies man. In the expanded universe prequel history, Solo's most notable relationship pre-military was with Bria Tharen, one of the pilgrims who had come to Ylesia seeking religious sanctuary. They escaped together after discovering out the mission was a scam. Tharen left Solo because she felt that she was holding him back and to join the Rebal Alliance.

How Han Solo pissed off The Hutts

In the expanded universe, Solo indirectly killed Zavval the Hutt while trying to steal a small cache of treasures from the High Priest Toroenza's treasure room. This death led to a bounty being placed on his head by Zavval's Hutt relatives.

Bria Tharen later asks for help in attacking a slave colony. After succeeding, Tharen steals the smuggler's valuables to aid the Rebel Alliance, forcing Solo and Chewbacca accept a smuggling job from Jabba the Hutt to compensate their losses.

An Imperial cruiser tried to stop Solo while he was illegally transporting an highly potent drug called spice for Jabba. In an effort to escape, Han decided to jettison his cargo. Jabba demanded that Solo pay back the worth of the cargo, and interest on this debt added up over the years.

Befriending Lando Calrissian

In the expanded universe, Solo befriends Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) after the gambler saved him from a bounty hunter named Boba Fett. Lando even taught Han how to fly Calrissian's ship, the Millennium Falcon.

How Han Gets The Millennium Falcon

We will likely see the series of events that end with Han Solo getting possession of the customized Millennium Falcon. The ship originally belonged to his friend Lando Calrissian, but Lando promised whoever won the Cloud City Sabacc Tournament finals could pick "any ship on his lot."  In the books, Sabaac is a card game which is huge across the galaxy. The games are very long, often lasting for days. The tournament lasted four days, something which would probably be tweaked or spiced up in the movie. The last two men were Han and Lando, with Solo winning the game. Calrissian was very reluctant to hand the Falcon over to Han but kept to his word.

How Did Han Solo Make the Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs, Or Did He?

In Episode IV: A New Hope, Han Solo convinces Obi-Wan that his ship, the Millenium Falcon, is fast enough to get to Alderaan by saying: "You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?... It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs." I'm sure we'll probably see the Kessel Run and learn just how Solo was able to do a 18-parsec route in only 12 Parsecs, or if he actually did it at all.

Lucas kind of messed up by writing the original bit of dialogue, because a parsec is a unit of distance, not time — equivalent to about 19 trillion miles or 3.26 light-years.

Many fans have theorized that the seemingly nonsensical claim was something Solo made up to impress Obi-Wan. Solo is not beyond lying to get his way. If you remember, Luke gave Solo a disbelieving look of after he made the claim.

The Kessel Run is a popular travel route for smuggling operations that goes around the Maw, a cluster of black holes. The expanded Universe claimed that Solo was able to shave a third of the distance and time off the normal route by flying dangerously close to the black holes. About.com argues that Han's Kessel Run claim "was therefore not just a boast about his ship's speed, but also his skills and daring as a pilot."

First encounters with the bounty hunter Greedo.

In the expanded universe, Greedo had encountered Solo twice after being hired by Jabba the Hutt, "demanding payment, but was humiliated both times." I'm sure we'll see an early encounter with Greedo, further proving George Lucas' revisionist intentions that Han didn't shoot first.

Why Han favors the Blaster

The quote from A New Hope also establishes the Blaster as Han's weapon of choice. While I'm not sure there is any explanations of how that came to be in the books, I'm sure we might get a fun little aside to why Solo trusts an old fashion laser gun (which Obi-Wan calls "clumsy" and "random") to some of the more technological advanced weaponry available in the Star Wars galaxy.

What Does This All Mean?

I could be incredibly wrong in my speculation. This could just be one chapter in the adventures of young Solo, a fun galactic adventure story that doesn't attempt to provide any answers. It seems more obvious that this film would have to be Han's Batman Begins-style origin story. Its hard to tell how much of this mythology could make it into the movie, but the broad strokes are there.

Han might not rescue Chewbacca from slavery, but we'll see how Han and Chewie first meet and how their friendship develops. We will definitely see how he gets the Millenium Falcon from his friend Lando, although it might not be the result of a big game tournament. We'll definitely see how a life of smuggling and a few wrong choices led Solo into a sticky situation with Jabba the Hutt, and we may see the aftermath of bounty hunters. Han will probably have a love interest, but it doesn't have to be Bria Tharen (who kinda serves as a funhouse mirror of the woman he would later fall in love with). We might never learn why Han favors the blaster or why he is a non-believer, but the backstory from the books was interesting enough to be in a movie.