Solo: A Star Wars Story tells the adventures of the young Han Solo, (Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!) the iconic, reckless and unpredictable smuggler from a galaxy far, far away.
Maneuvering his way through a series of daring escapades within the dangerous underworld, Solo meets his mighty copilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Carrissian (Donald Glover, Atlanta).
Solo: A Star Wars Story was directed by Ron Howard, and opens on May 25th, for the Memorial Day weekend. Alden and Donald were at the press conference, which took place at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Alden, I believe you met with Harrison Ford before you started shooting the movie. How did that go?

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Alden Ehrenreich
Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) in Solo: A Star Wars Story ©2018 Lucasfilm Ltd

Alden Ehrenreich: Unbelievable. Oh my God. I had lunch with him right before we started shooting. I wanted to talk to Harrison, just to pay respect and have him give us blessings for the film. He was really encouraging and supportive. Then we went off and shot the (movie).

Today I was doing an interview and they (asked me) ‘Is there anything else you’d like to ask (Harrison)?’ I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ They’re like, ‘Well, you’ll have your chance.’ He was behind me. He (was) so effusive about the movie. It meant so much to me, and everybody. It’s such a huge deal to have him genuinely love it. It was awesome.

Star Wars 4: A New Hope - Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford
Star Wars 4: A New Hope – Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) ©1977 Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox

Did you look at the old Star Wars movies to capture Harrison’s movements and gestures?

Alden: Yeah. The way I went about it pretty much was to watch the original movies very early on. And just kind of absorb as much as I could mainly of the character (and) how the character is operating in the world, and the whole Star Wars universe, which is so rich. I had the role for quite a long time before we actually shot.

Moving into working on the part, (I) put all that aside and forgot about it and played this guy where he is now in his life. Because it’s most important, I think, that it feels like a real person.

Donald, what was it like stepping in the shoes of Lando Calrissian?

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Donald Glover
Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) in Solo: A Star Wars Story ©2018 Lucasfilm Ltd

Donald Glover: Lando was my first action toy, so the character really spoke to me. I am honored to dig a little deeper into him. I think he’s a really intriguing character. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes bad, and really only beholden to himself. These are interesting and honest traits.

He’s very smooth, very self-assured and very elegant, and he’s the type to be the life and soul of the party – if he sees it as being advantageous to him.

I know you were a huge fan of Billy Dee Williams.

Donald: Billy did something really special. The subtlety and the control in his portrayal were really interesting. So you have to do something special, but in a different way. He was so cool, but cool changes. It’s all context and perspective at the time. That presented an interesting challenge for me.

Can you talk a little about the relationship between Han and Lando?

Alden: Han and Lando are both trying to be the fastest pilot, the coolest guy in the room, but they end up having a grudging respect, as well as an understanding and affection for each other as a result of the violent and crazy situations they find themselves in.

Donald brings so much humor and heart, and his own natural cool to that dynamic. It was brilliant working with him.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Donald Glover
Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) in Solo: A Star Wars Story ©2018 Lucasfilm Ltd

Donald: I definitely have the best clothes, and, from the hair to the capes to the boots, I’ve had a blast being Lando. On a more serious note, I felt like the story hits the sweet spot between being something everyone can understand and relate to, while also being true to the Star Wars world.

What was it like working with Ron Howard?

Alden: Ron came with an uncanny sense of Star Wars. He spoke the language, he knew the humor and he had takes on the scenes that were really clear and specific. He has so much energy and clearly loves making movies, and that was infectious to be around. He also understands actors on a really deep level, not least of all because he was one, and being the beneficiary of that level of understanding was wonderful.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Director Ron Howard
Director Ron Howard on the set in Solo: A Star Wars Story ©2018 Lucasfilm Ltd

Alden, what did it feel like for you to sit down in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon?

Alden: It’s bigger than you can even wrap your head around. Being in the Millennium Falcon is very, very cool. You get in and you can’t believe you’re in it, it’s so surreal.

A couple months into shooting, you’re inside of it and you’re flying it. You know where the buttons are. You know how the chair feels, you know the yoke and you feel like, okay, this is my ship now. (he laughs). And that is deeply gratifying.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo
Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story ©2018 Lucasfilm Ltd

Donald, what did you love most about the movie?

Donald: I love that you get to see why Han is complicated.

Maybe he did the wrong thing but for the right reasons; or maybe the right thing for the wrong reasons. That’s how everybody has to live. It’s like a lost world out there. And I really love that it’s not simple.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.