Star Wars fans may be seeing their favorite characters recast after all. Kathleen Kennedy recently told Vanity Fair that following the box-office flop, Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s unlikely we will see any iconic characters from the franchise recast by younger actors. The 2018 film saw Alden Ehrenreich take over the role of Han Solo from Harrison Ford, giving the audience a peek into the pilot’s young smuggling days.
Unfortunately for Ehrenreich and Disney, the film didn’t have the success they were hoping for. Solo received mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike, but more importantly, it didn’t make money at the box office. The movie garnered $392.9 million against a $275 million budget, marking it as a failure for Disney. Today, Solo remains the lowest-grossing total across all films within the Star Wars franchise. This was unexpected for Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm, who believed that bringing back a beloved character from the original trilogy would get fans in seats at the cinema. She elaborated further with her thoughts on the recasting:
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“There should be moments along the way when you learn things. Now it does seem so abundantly clear that we can’t do that.” “We would never make Indiana Jones without Harrison Ford… We also can’t go do something with Luke Skywalker that isn’t Mark Hamill.”
Now Kennedy is backtracking her statements, leaving room for the possibility of recasting actors from the original trilogy in newer films. The Lucasfilm president recently spoke to Total Film to clear up any confusion; she had this to say:
“I never say never. It’s certainly not something that we’re doing with any intention right now. We’re still talking about Lando with Donald Glover, for instance, but I don’t think we would intentionally just look back at some of the characters like Luke and Leia and whatnot and decide arbitrarily to do a story. There would have to be a really strong reason why.”
Kennedy is leaving the door open for future re-castings and even the unlikely Solo sequel. However, we’ve yet to see if these plans will ever come to fruition.
New Technology May Allow Studios to Avoid the Need for a Recast
Over the last few years, we have seen several characters return to the big and small screen, using de-aging technology. It began with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), with Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing appearing as their younger selves in the film. Disney used a body double for Fisher and Cushing, then digitally replaced their face with versions of the younger actors. Since then, we have seen the technique used in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett.
The technology has only continued to improve with each new iteration, and the progression we’ve seen thus far begs the question, do we even need a recast? Ultimately it’s up to the fans to decide what they like more, de-aging or recasting the actors entirely. However, Lucasfilm and Disney will undoubtedly keep their options open moving forward with new projects.