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Star Wars' young Han Solo to be played by Alden Ehrenreich ()

Star Wars: The Force Awakens may have been Harrison Ford's last turn as Han Solo, but it's far from the final time viewers will see space pirate-turned-rebel hero. A Young Han Solo prequel has been brewing since Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney – and the leading man may finally have been cast.

Trade site The Hollywood Reporter has named Alden Ehrenreich as the new pilot of the Millennium Falcon, after beating out a rumoured 2500 actors for the part. The final three also included Taron Egerton, the young lead in comic adaptation Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Jack Reynor, most notably seen in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

The 26-year old Ehrenreich got his big screen break in 2009's Tetro, acting under legendary writer/director/producer Francis Ford Coppola. In 2013, he played the lead in Beautiful Creatures, adapted from the young adult fantasy novel of the same name, and can currently be seen in The Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar!

Little is yet known of the Young Han Solo film project, other than it is set to reveal how Han became the rogueish smuggler viewers first meet in Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope. The film will be directed by The Lego Movie's Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and its script will be written by Lawrence Kasdan – who wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens – and son Jon Kasdan.

Young Han Solo – still officially untitled – will also be one of the Star Wars Anthology movies, released inbetween core 'Episode' instalments. Director Gareth Edwards' Rogue One is the first of these, releasing in December this year. Han's release date is also to be confirmed.

It's worth considering that neither Lucasfilm nor Disney have officially announced Ehrenreich's casting yet, but he certainly has the talent to pull off the role – something the studio will likely want to make use of going forwards. Given Star Wars is now Disney's second major tentpole next to the Marvel Studios movies, and Han Solo one of its most popular characters, if Ehrenreich has clinched the role, expect to see his take on the scruffy looking nerf-herder on screen in far more than just the announced Young Han film. 

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