We’d already heard as much, but now it’s official: Alden Ehrenreich will play space smuggler Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars prequel.
The worst-kept secret in Hollywood was confirmed yesterday (July 17) at the Star Wars Celebration fan event in London, where the 26-year-old actor made a surprise appearance. He joined a panel that included John Boyega and the movie’s directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, telling the audience he was “very, very excited” about playing the role made famous by Harrison Ford.
The as-yet-untitled movie will cover events in Han Solo’s life before his appearance in the original 1977 Star Wars film, A New Hope, and is due to start filming in the U.K. in early 2017.
“I auditioned for about six months,” Ehrenreich revealed on stage. “The coolest part of the audition process was I went on the [Millennium] Falcon [and] screen tested with Chewbacca–I’d never acted with a wookie!”
That’s what clinched the deal, according to the directors. Lord told the crowd they’d auditioned more than 3,000 potential Han Solos over six months, but in the end it was the first actor they saw—Ehrenreich–who got the part.
John Boyega was among those to greet the news with excitement:
— Star Wars UK (@StarWarsUK) July 17, 2016
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