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Why only one of the ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ writers was excited to tackle the Kessel Run

Why only one of the ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ writers was excited to tackle the Kessel Run
Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, right, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon in "Solo: A Star Wars Story." (Jonathan Olley / Lucasfilm Ltd.)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Han Solo was an intergalactic smuggler with a swagger that spoke volumes. But how was Han shaped into that man who ends up on a path to become a hero of the Rebellion through the events of the original “Star Wars” trilogy?

The opportunity to explore Han’s formative years compelled veteran “Star Wars” scribe Lawrence Kasdan to take on “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” And even with the existing mythology, Kasdan explained that there were only a few familiar elements he felt were necessary to include in a Han Solo origin story.

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(Warning: Some spoilers for “Solo: A Star Wars Story” below.)

“I was drawn to take the job because it suggested to me [that] I get to see how he’s formed, I get to see how he met Chewie — because this is really a love story between them — and very quickly I thought, ‘We’ve heard a lot about the Kessel Run. I want to see it,’” Kasdan recently told The Times.

The Kessel Run was first mentioned by Han in “A New Hope” when he was boasting about the speed of the Millennium Falcon (and his ability as a pilot) to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, who were seeking passage to Alderaan.

While the exact details of the run remained unclear until "Solo," it was understood to be a hyperspace route taken from the planet Kessel, known for its spice mines.

But although Kasdan wanted to include the actual Kessel Run in the movie, his “Solo” co-writer and son, Jonathan Kasdan, was not as enthusiastic about the prospect.

“When he said that, I said ‘Really, do we have to?’ Because it’s such a complicated bit of logic, and solving it was really challenging,” said Jonathan. “We spent a lot of time arguing about how it could work [and how] the language of what [Han] says in that one scene shot years ago that you know George [Lucas] was just sitting there thinking, ‘This sounds cool: “I did it in 12 parsecs”’ — could be flushed out into a fully fledged coherent sequence that was satisfying and fun.

“I’m thrilled with how it came out, but it was one of the daunting elements of this always,” Jonathan added.

The elder Kasdan reiterated that other than the Kessel Run, there were few tidbits the pair felt were essential to include in “Solo” to make sure the movie would stay true to the development of 1977’s original Han Solo.

“There were no other bases. It was a personal thing, and Jon shared it — I wanted to go back to the original vision, which is that Han shot first,” said Kasdan. “That was important. The Kessel Run, we said, ‘We’ll take that on.’ Meeting Chewie. That’s it.”

Times staff writer Josh Rottenberg contributed to this story.

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