The Star Wars fan community can breathe a momentary sigh of relief: the exceptionally charming Alden Ehrenreich is the new Han Solo. There’s a full two years before his solo film, directed by Phil Miller and Chris Lord, hits theaters, but we may not need to wait that long to see him don the famed vest and blaster.
Rumor has it that the character will appear at some point during Rogue One, the first Star Wars spinoff set to be released later this year. But how would that really work?
Earlier this year, Lawrence Kasdan (who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and The Force Awakens) revealed that the Han Solo movie will be set 10 years before A New Hope, which makes perfect sense; Ehrenreich is 26 years old, and Harrison Ford was 35 when he made A New Hope.
Meanwhile, Rogue One takes place right before the events of A New Hope, which means Ehrenreich’s Han would be ten years older than in his standalone movie.
That aging scheme is curious enough. But ignoring that, how and why would Han Solo show up in Rogue One — despite the fact that we know from A New Hope that he doesn’t want anything to do with the Rebellion or the Empire? Lucasfilm likely doesn’t want to repeat the borderline idiotic character coincidences that plagued the prequels, like Chewbacca conveniently being chums with Yoda in Revenge of the Sith. So what would be the most logical way for Han to enter Rogue One?
5. He’s on whatever planet on which the beach battle takes place.
This is a stretch, and largely depends on actually sitting down and watching Rogue One to see what exactly is happening during the beach battle seen in the first trailer. But Han Solo has been known to get into sticky situations and escape by the skin of his teeth at the edges of the galaxy. It seems like the Rebels will be attacking an Imperial base near a beach, and maybe Han and Chewie were somehow around to smuggle some Imperial goods to the highest bidder elsewhere, and suddenly found themselves in the crosshairs of the Rebel Alliance.
4. He’s friends with Forrest Whitaker’s character.
A connection to Whitaker’s still-unnamed character is another purely speculative, but entirely plausible way to get Han into the Rogue One mix. Han loves the company of some unsavory and less-than-dignified folks, and from what we see in the trailer, Whitaker seems to be a battle-hardened dude who’s seen some shit. Rumors about the character say that he lost limbs in the Clone Wars and uses some kind of Vader-esque mechanized suit to survive, so maybe he’s hanging out in a Cantina somewhere spouting off all his “What will you become” rhetoric right next to a skeptical Solo. The two brief shots of him in the trailer even look like he’s in a darkened cantina-esque hovel — or possibly in the Millennium Falcon.
3. Rogue One Shows the Kessel Run
This probably won’t happen, but from a fan perspective it would be glorious. Since A New Hope we’ve heard about the Falcon’s infamous less-than-12-parsec win at the unseen race. And though the podrace in The Phantom Menace gave us our fair share of high speed action, maybe early on in Rogue One, Jyn Erso or another character races and loses all of their credits to Han and Chewie. After that they might be forced to go into a life of crime and, eventually, get goaded into the Rebel Alliance’s plot to capture the Death Star plans.
2. He’s in an Imperial brig.
Though as he says in A New Hope he’s “outrun Imperial starships, maybe he’s somehow incarcerated in Rogue One and is privy to the information about the impending attack on the Empire from the Rebels. We wouldn’t put it past Han to be locked up for one illegal reason or another, and maybe he even meets a similarly unprincipled Jyn Erso along the way.
1. Jyn Erso is a fellow smuggler.
Jyn and Han could meet in jail, or they could meet on the job. She seems like the closest thing to Han Solo since Han Solo, so it makes sense that the pair might travel in the same illegal circles. The Rogue One trailer lists her infraction as “forgery of imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, and resisting arrested.” If that doesn’t sound like a rap sheet that could just as easily be for Han Solo, then you don’t know Han Solo. Better yet, Mon Mothma describes her as “reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined,” which is all character traits of Han as well. Maybe Jyn gets picked up for trying to rip off the Rebels with Han, pushing her into the plot of the movie.