Alden Ehrenreich Confirmed As Han Solo, Rian Johnson Talks 'Star Wars: Episode VIII', And More

So in case you've been off in a different star system or something, it's been hard to miss Star Wars Celebration. The fan event had been going on all weekend in London, and hopefully you were watching the live stream (it's actually still running if you want to check it out) and saw the footage from Star Wars Rebels season 3 and the featurette for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That trailer never materialized like it was supposed to, but whatever.

Anyway, this final day was about looking ahead to the future and Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII, along with the Han Solo spinoff from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.  While details were mostly kept secret (OF COURSE!!) a few interesting nuggets were dropped that might be considered SPOILERS so beware from here on out.

First up, Rian Johnson was brought on to discuss the follow-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he confirmed what many had been speculating since the start of production. Last we saw, Rey had just located Luke Skywalker, who had been in isolation since a number of his Jedi trainees had been murdered by Kylo Ren. It was quite the sweeping, emotional moment when she found him, arguably the best closing scene Star Wars ever had, and Johnson says the next film will pick up right where that left off.

"For the first time, we're breaking Star Wars tradition and starting our movie right where the last one left off. Skellig Michael is an incredibly mystical place. To be there and have that be the first thing we were shooting was an appropriately surreal way to start everything off...The second film is where we zoom into the characters, getting to the heart of them and challenging them.”

Right off the bat that separates Johnson's film from any other, but what is just as intriguing are the movies he wanted the cast to study up on: Three Outlaw SamuraiLetter Never SentGunga Din, and 12 O’clock High. Holy crap that's an awesome group of flicks. What do they have in common? Mostly they're adventure or war movies in which a unit is involved in a really long, torturous search or campaign. Not sure how that will play out in 'Episode VIII' but I'm down.

Later on during her Princess Leia panel, the always chatty Carrie Fisher accidentally let a minor spoiler loose out into the world. According to The  Telegraph, Fisher let slip that Han Solo's funeral would be seen in 'Episode VIII'. I'm thinking of the awful wail Chewbacca's going to make and already I'm tearing up. Bring Kleenex.

Meanwhile, Phil Lord and Chris Miller dropped by to talk about their young Han Solo spinoff, and joining them was Alden Ehrenreich, who has now been officially confirmed to be playing the popular rogue. The plan is to shoot the film next year in early January or February, tell a story that finds Han Solo in his 20s. Lord says...

“I sort of relate to him. He doesn’t want to do anything he is told. He is very sarcastic and at the end of the day he is unreasonably optimistic. He is a grouchy, cynical guy with the biggest heart in the galaxy.”

Miller went on to add...

“He’s a maverick, a scoundrel. He is clever but he’s not smart. He wants to present himself as this tough guy but he is lovable. He is one of the most iconic characters of all time.”

About casting Ehrenreich, the duo saw thousands of candidates in order to find the star, but Lord admitted they knew who they wanted right away....

"But it was a waste of money because the person to get the part was literally the first person to walk through the door.”

Star Wars: Episode VIII opens Dec. 15th 2017. The untitled Han Solo standalone movie opens May 25th, 2018.