Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) is hardly the only handsome rake in Solo: A Star Wars Story, as evinced by Lando Calrissian’s (Donald Glover) repeat suave-as-fuck appearances in the trailers. Because the spin-off is basically an origin story, it’s also full of shady characters, including rogues played by Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and Paul Bettany, whose ulterior motives are hinted at in a new piece from Entertainment Weekly.
[Note: some spoilers ahead.]
Speaking with EW, director Ron Howard describes the bond between Tobias Beckett (Harrelson) and Han: “[Beckett] really shapes Han really more than anybody, as Han comes to realize that in a lawless time he needs to try to come to terms with some kind of moral code.” Lawrence and Jon Kasdan even took inspiration from Treasure Island for Beckett and Han’s mentor/mentee relationship. Like Long John Silver, Beckett is “a very tough criminal,” but Harrelson gives the character “enormous humanity” that develops the part beyond his extralegal activities.
The mentoring part of the job was mentioned when Harrelson was originally cast for the project, but we haven’t heard much about Newton’s role as Val. We got a quick glimpse at her in the first Solo trailer, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says Val meets Han because she’s “tied to Beckett... They’ve been partners a long time.” As a member of a prominent crime family, Val doesn’t think much of Han upon meeting him. “I will say at first glance, doesn’t necessarily have total faith in Han—as a lot of people he meets in his life tend to feel about him,” Jon Kasdan tells EW. “She’s a little skeptical of this kid when she meets him. And her relationship with him goes in, I think, an … interesting direction.”
Bettany, who we’ve seen in character thanks to Howard’s social media activity, plays Dryden Vos, a most debonair underworld boss. Jon Kasdan says Vos has “a sort of combination of class and swagger and real danger which I think is a fun thing, and he absolutely inhabits it. He’s way deeper in the crime world than anyone else that we meet in the movie.” He’s mixed up in criminal dealings along with Beckett, but Vos is on a much higher level: “[T]hey’re just in slightly different places,” the younger Kasdan says. “Much like a movie like Layer Cake where you see an Albert Finney type of character who’s a little more advanced.”
We’ll see how they all fit in Han’s world when Solo: A Star Wars Story debuts May 25.