Despite how efficiently Star Wars: The Force Awakens manipulates nostalgia, much of the success of the movie—now the highest-grossing film ever made—can be ascribed to what’s fresh about it. Fans seem to be most excited by the new characters Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren, and the diverse faces in the young cast are being touted as a model for big-budget Hollywood filmmaking going forward. So the Star Wars franchise, diminished by George Lucas’s prequels, is now guaranteed to chug along for years as Disney prepares a slate of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs, and today a shortlist of actors being considered to play a young Han Solo leaked online. It couldn’t have felt more anticlimactic.
The names on the list are a grab-bag of semi-famous white actors in their late 20s and early 30s, including Dave Franco of Neighbors, Miles Teller of Whiplash, Ansel Elgort of The Fault in Our Stars, and Brooklyn’s Emory Cohen. Disney has hired the talented director/writer team Phil Lord and Chris Miller to helm its “Young Han Solo” movie, which is slated for release in 2018. Lord and Miller have taken tough media properties and adapted them well—they made 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie—but this project is much more daunting.