(Warning - mild potential SPOILERS for Han Solo's upcoming standalone movie are to be found below. Proceed with whatever level of caution that might suggest...)
With both a brand new trilogy, and a whole lot of standalone 'anthology' movies set to hit our screens over the next few years, there's arguably never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan (excluding 1977, perhaps) than the next decade. Whether it's the epic scale of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (now just four months away!) or the intriguing backstory of Rogue One, there's a heck of a lot to look forward to - but one solo movie might still just about have the edge in terms of sheer fan-gasm inducement: Han Solo's upcoming standalone adventure.
As it turns out, though, we may well be in for something of a surprise when Han Solo hits the big screen. Y'see:
It Sounds as Though We're About to See 'Teen Han'
Or, at least, a much, much younger version of the character than we're used to - but not so young that we end up with a repeat of that whole "widely hated junior Anakin" situation from Episode I.
Specifically, as Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently revealed to EW:
"He’ll definitely be probably in the high teens, low 20s. We’re not introducing you to a 10-year-old Han Solo."
Or, in other words, Han'll most likely be somewhere between 18 and 23 in the new movie. And y'know what?
Having Such a Young Han Could Be the Best Move His Solo Movie Ever Makes
Y'see, while there's inevitably some skepticism surrounding the potential casting of a feckless, charisma-free teen as Han Solo, the likely benefits of skewing young seem to substantially outweigh the potential risks, for three main reasons.
3. We Don't Want to Know Too Much About Han
He is, after all, at his best when he's something of a mystery. Taking a long, lingering look at Han Solo's childhood, then, could've ruin a lot of the fan-imagined mythos behind the character, could've an extended look at the years immediately preceding the original Star Wars trilogy.
Ultimately, we don't really need to see how Han made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs, or how he wound up owing Jabba so much money - since we've already got our own perfectly fine answers to those questions in our head (and the no longer canon Expanded Universe, of course).
As Kennedy put it:
"There’s got to be a reason for [the stand-alone film] to be. And obviously the thing that Star Wars has always done so well is it doesn’t spend a lot of time [explaining] the stories that have come before. We don’t want to do that either. We don’t want to spend time going back and answering a lot of questions that, quite frankly, I don’t think people want answered."
A closer look at how Han became the rogue we know and love, though? That's a far, far safer bet.
2. A Younger Han Will Have Less to Live Up to
After all, if we were set to see the adventures of an immediately prior to A New Hope Han, the actor playing him would have to directly compete with Harrison Ford's iconic performance as the hero.
Set the story fifteen years before that, though, and a whole bunch of the more obvious comparisons go out the window - leaving a lot more space for the young actor in question to give us their own unique take on Han.
1. There's Room for Sequels
For all the talk of Han's solo movie being a one time deal, y'see, there's a distinct chance that - if it does well at the box office - we'll be seeing a follow-up movie a few years later. This is, after all, a Disney movie we're talking about, and the chances of the studio looking a sequel-shaped horse in the mouth lie somewhere between slim and none.
And if we do end up seeing a sequel? Well, then starting out with a 19-year-old Han is suddenly going to seem like an incredibly prudent move...
What do you reckon, though?