Solo: A Star Wars Story is the fourth Star Wars film released by Disney, but it was apparently in the works before the entertainment giant's 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm.
Franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, told ComicBook.com he was involved with a Han Solo spinoff before George Lucas sold the company.
Lucas and longtime producer Kathleen Kennedy already knew how they wanted Lucasfilm to run going forward, and told Kasdan they were interested in more Star Wars films. He hesitated about writing another franchise installment, until they suggested one with Han as the focus.
"And I said, 'Well, I love Han,' and they sort of hit my button, you know?" Kasdan explained. "I was told that I could do anything I wanted with it, and that was kind of irresistible. It took off from there."
Kasdan said his son and writing partner, Jonathan Kasdan, helped him to avoid Star Wars burnout, and that he couldn't have contributed to Solo: A Star Wars Story without his collaboration.
Directed by Ron Howard, Solo: A Star Wars Story stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. They’re joined by Thandie Newton as Val, Phoebe Waller-Bridge L3-37, Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos, and Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett. The film opens May 25.