A real big piece of casting for the Han Solo movie may be close to happening, and it fulfills an old piece of Han’s backstory George Lucas came up with.
Variety is reporting that Woody Harrelson is in early talks to play Han’s mentor in the 2018 movie. After The Hunger Games and War for the Planet of the Apes, Harrelson is taking on some cool SciFi roles and he’d be perfect in Star Wars. But the mentor role is an ancient part of Han’s story.
Back during the writing of The Empire Strikes Back’s first draft, George Lucas fleshed out a backstory for Han Solo. He was raised with the Wookiees and then entered a Space Academy before flunking out. He met an Ernest Hemingway type character who became his mentor before the two had a big falling out and Han swore to never talk to him again.
In the first draft of ESB, this mentor character was someone the Rebellion needed for help. Threads of that idea could be seen in Saw’s role in Rogue One, and an old friend of Han’s obviously turned into Lando in the final movie.
Lawrence Kasdan was involved with The Empire Strikes Back, so he was likely exposed to that element of Han’s origin. It’s very possible that’s what we’ll be seeing in the movie when it comes out next year.