As we draw closer to the theatrical release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, we're learning more, possibly vital details about the spin-off movie. We already have the big picture in mind, namely, that it takes place during the younger years of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), when he was a rogue and a scoundrel.
We also know that he will be teamed with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and will share an adventure with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Among the new characters, an old comrade of Han, named Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), will play a key, possibly romantic role; a droid named L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) will apparently be a co-pilot for Lando; and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) serves as a criminal mentor for young Han.
What about the villain?
It's not been clear who the primary villain will be. Based on the first trailer, we identified a character named Moloch as an antagonist, fighting Beckett on a train and then in a Western-style showdown.
Official toy merchandise for the film, however, may hold the key to the true villain. According to a post on Reddit (via Slashfilm), the packaging on one item refers to a "Cloud-Rider gang led by Enfys Nest." Per io9, the Cloud-Riders were originally mentioned in the Star Wars Expanded Universe stories back in 1977. They were nasty villains who prompted a small village to hire Han and Chewbacca as protectors, which played out in a scenario inspired by the classic Japanese film Seven Samurai.
That story is no longer "canon" in the official Star Wars universe, but it may have served as inspiration for Solo writers Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. And it may be that Enfys Nest is, in fact, the main bad guy in the movie, but we'll have to wait to confirm that.
What about a new planet?
We're always excited to see new landscapes in the Star Wars films and now a new planet has been confirmed. It's called Vandor and it will be the setting for the train heist that's glimpsed in the first trailer, according to Making Star Wars. A forthcoming tie-in book for young readers, Solo: A Star Wars Story Train Heist, has the simple description that provides confirmation: "Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee must team-up for a daring train heist on the planet Vandor!"
What about Han and Qi'ra?
Another forthcoming tie-in book, Star Wars Most Wanted, is a prequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story, aimed at older readers. The story revolves around Han and Qi'ra: "They're street kids on the industrial planet Corellia, doing whatever it takes to get by, dreaming of something more. They each jump at a chance to prove themselves in the perilous world of Corellia's criminal underbelly, only to discover they are on the same mission for the same unscrupulous boss."
What about the credits?
Ron Howard took over directing duties on short notice after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller departed the project last summer. The filmmaking duo had been serving as directors for several months at that point.
Now they've revealed that they will be included in the credits. This past Friday, they were guests at the GLAS Animation Festival Friday in Berkeley. Variety reports that Lord and Miller told the audience: "We were really proud of the many contributions we made to that film. In light of the creative differences, we elected to take an executive producer credit."
Solo: A Star Wars Story will be released in theaters everywhere on May 25.