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Alden Ehrenreich debuts as new Han Solo at ‘Star Wars’ event

Alden Ehrenreich attends the Star Wars Celebration 2016

Alden Ehrenreich attends the Star Wars Celebration 2016 in London on July 17, 2016. Credit: Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios / Ben A. Pruchnie

Following his casting in May, actor Alden Ehrenreich was formally introduced on Sunday as the new Han Solo in an upcoming “Star Wars” spinoff.

“When it first came along I knew everybody would be going out for it,” Ehrenreich, 26, said on a panel on the third and last day of the Star Wars Celebration Europe fan convention, reported “I read the sides [i.e. audition script pages] and loved them and thought, ‘Who knows, but let me give it a shot.’ ”

He went on to say, reported Variety, that he “auditioned for six months,” and found “the coolest part” was being on the set of Solo’s famed spaceship the Millennium Falcon “for a chemistry test with Chewbacca,” not specifying whether he tested with actor Peter Mayhew or a double in the costume of the furry alien sidekick. “It was unbelievable,” Ehrenreich said. “It was more exciting than nerve-wracking.” He added, said The Hollywood Reporter that, “I’ve never screen-tested with a Wookie. It was amazing.”

Ehrenreich has received good notices for films including the teen supernatural romance “Beautiful Creatures” (2013) and this year’s Coen-brothers Hollywood comedy “Hail, Caesar!,” in which he played a Western hero being groomed, to less-than-stellar results, as a romantic lead.

The stand-alone Han Solo film, expected to be titled “Han Solo: A Star Wars Story,” is in the preproduction stage under directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, said “We turned over every rock to find someone who has the charisma and magic swagger,” Lord, a fellow panelist, told the crowd, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“They were the biggest boots to fill,” added Miller, who said he and Lord saw more than 3,000 actors for the role, reported Variety. “But we cast the first person who walked through the door. Sorry Kathy — we wasted your money,” he joked, addressing producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, who quipped in response that she would take it out of his salary.

Disney has scheduled the movie, which focuses on young Han Solo before the events of the original 1977 “Star Wars,” for a May 25, 2018, release.


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