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Han Solo blasts into Disney's Star Wars universe with own film

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 07:15
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Storm troopers pose for photos during the opening day of the 25th Star Wars Convention on April 16, 2015 in Anaheim, California.

[LOS ANGELES] Han Solo, the Star Wars space hero who always has a fast ship and a good blaster, will get his own stand-alone film, the Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday, directed by the Lego Movie film makers.

The untitled Han Solo project, slated for release on May 25, 2018, will be the second stand-alone Star Wars anthology film, following the release of Rogue One next year.

These films will explore a separate part of George Lucas'intricate intergalactic universe and will intersperse the new trilogy of Star Wars movies kicking off with December's highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The new Han Solo film will focus on the origin story of the character made famous in the Star Wars films by actor Harrison Ford, who will reprise that role in The Force Awakens.

Solo was introduced in the original Star Wars film as a former smuggler who takes Luke Skywalker aboard his ship, the Millennium Falcon, and helps him escape Darth Vader.

Solo becomes the lovable scoundrel of the Rebel Alliance, fighting against the oppressive Galactic Empire along with his friend and co-pilot Chewbacca, a bear-like "wookie."

"The story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley," Disney said in a statement.

Filmmakers Chris Miller and Phil Lord, best known for Lego Movie, the reboot of 21 Jump Street and also Fox TV's hit comedy series The Last Man On Earth, will direct the movie, which has yet to announce a cast. "We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us," Miller and Lord said in a statement.

Writer-director Lawrence Kasdan, best known for co-writing The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, will pen the screenplay with his son Jon Kasdan.

The Force Awakens is the first of three new Star Wars films being produced by Walt Disney Co since it purchased the franchise from Lucasfilm in 2012 for US$4.05 billion.

The six previously released Star Wars films have grossed more than US$4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since 1977 and spawned a legion of devoted fans.

REUTERS