On May 22nd Star Wars: The Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was awarded his first AJFF Icon Award for his Contributions to the Cinematic Arts at a gala at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Rich Auditorium. While present at the event Kasdan also attended a Q&A session with fans and the press about his next movie; the second Star Wars spin-off movie which will see Alden Ehrenreich (pictured below) portray a young Han Solo.
Q: What can you tell us about the Han Solo project?
Lawrence Kasdan: "Young Han! (Laughs)".
Q: For the fans, generally speaking, should they be excited?
Lawrence Kasdan: "Oh, I think so! You know, Chris Miller and Phil Lord are going to direct it. They’re great, funny and imaginative and we’ve had a great time together. My son [Jon] and I wrote the script and Chris and Phil are working on it and they’re about to move to London to start shooting in January. And it should be fun."
Q: 2018 is the release date?
Lawrence Kasdan: "Yes. They’re actually scheduled for May. The [other Star Wars films] are falling on Christmas — Rogue One and Episode 9. Han will come before Episode 9."
Q: Did you think there would be a Star Wars Episode 9 when you were doing Episode 2/5?
Lawrence Kasdan: "By the time I came on for 2… you know, it was already the biggest picture in the world, so it wasn’t a shock that they were going to do more. But yeah, it’s amazing… that was 40 years ago!"
Q: The Star Wars movies that you had your hands on seem to have more emotional depth and they really resonate. We’ve all watched them thousands of times and it seems like Han Solo really shines in the ones that you’ve got your hands on.
Lawrence Kasdan: "Well, I love Han."
Q: Is he what brings you back?
Lawrence Kasdan: "Well, yeah. I was originally going to just write Han, but I had contracted to be in the story group on Episode 7, which became “The Force Awakens.” And then there were problems. A wonderful writer, Michael Arndt, just couldn’t do the time pressure, and people were being hired in England and it was enormous pressure and he stepped away. We stayed in contact and he’s a lovely man, then J.J. [Abrams] and I took over, and now I found myself instead just doing Han and consulting on “Force Awakens,” we were actually writing Episode 7 together and it happened very fast."
Q: Are you aware of the complete story arc of the new trilogy? Are you involved with that too?
Lawrence Kasdan: "(Laughs) I have a little information!"
Q: Are you helping steer that story?
Lawrence Kasdan: "[Star Wars Episode 8 Director] Rian [Johnson] is a friend of mine. I’m getting to know Colin Trevorrow, who is going to direct Episode 9, so I feel very involved with it."
Q: Working with your family, is that more special, more fulfilling for you?
Lawrence Kasdan: "It’s been great. First, I worked with my brother, then I worked with my wife and then now my son. Of course, every collaboration is challenging in a way. But it has been very satisfying."
Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by The LEGO Movies' Phil Lord and Chris Miller will begin filming in January 2017 and is expected to be released between Episodes VIII and IX on May 25th, 2018.