The earliest days of the new Star Wars era remain relatively mysterious. We know that in October 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, and work soon began on what would eventually become the start of the new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But the story is much more interesting than that, as was revealed in a recent chat io9 had with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
Those early days also included the news that both Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan were writing individual Star Wars movies. Since Michael Arndt was hired to write Episode VII, speculation ran wild over which two other movies Kasdan and Kinberg were working on. (Kasdan went on to co-write both The Force Awakens as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story.)
We spoke to Kasdan (who also wrote a few movies called The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, among others) this weekend and he explained how it all went down: Not only was he hired to write a Han Solo movie before working on The Force Awakens, but he was hired before Disney bought Lucasfilm at all.
“I got involved right before [the acquisition],” Kasdan told io9. “No one knew about Disney. That was a total shock and surprise. About three weeks after I came into it, my wife and I were in a restaurant and this news came. It’s like ‘What? Now I’m suddenly working for Disney?’”
Kasdan explained that both he and Kinberg were hired to write individual movies but were also part of an early Episode VII story group. However, Kasdan was specifically brought on to write a Han Solo movie.
“I had signed on only to do Han,” Kasdan said. “But I agreed to be a consultant on Episode VII which had no name and no director. And we were in a room at [Skywalker] Ranch saying ‘What should this trilogy be?’ Then I went off to write Han but kept being dragged back into Force Awakens.”
No one has ever said on the record which movie Kinberg was writing, but most believe it was a Boba Fett movie which was supposed to be released in 2018 with Josh Trank directing. But in 2015, Trank was removed from that project—and a few months later, its prospective release date was filled with what would become Solo: A Star Wars Story.
“So we started writing this and I kept saying ‘Well, you know, it’s coming in like 2020. So like maybe let’s get a sandwich,’” joked Lawrence’s son Jon Kasdan, who co-wrote Solo. “And he’s like ‘Don’t be so sure. Things can shift and things can move.’ And then the combination of meeting Chris [Miller] and Phil [Lord] and getting them involved in the project and them sort of being excited by it. And whatever happened with Trank which, honestly, we didn’t know anything about until we were told that that movie wasn’t going to be coming next. It sort of facilitated moving this up and, this is three years ago, suddenly there was a lot more pressure on us to deliver a script right away. And we did and then the momentum of the thing sort of carries through.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story finally hits theaters on May 25.