Donald Glover will travel to a galaxy far, far away to play Star Wars fan favorite Lando Calrissian in the space saga’s upcoming young Han Solo film, Lucasfilm announced Friday. Glover will star alongside Alden Ehrenreich, who portrays the smuggler made famous by Harrison Ford, in the 2018 spinoff directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Like the series’ upcoming anthology film Rogue One, the Han Solo standalone movie will chronologically take place between the prequel Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and George Lucas’ first Star Wars film, dubbed “A New Hope.”
Glover fills the space boots once occupied by actor Billy Dee Williams, who played Calrissian in the original series’ The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us,” Lord and Miller said in a statement. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”
In Empire Strikes Back, Calrissian comments how he was once owner of Solo’s beloved Millennium Falcon before losing the ship to Solo in a card game. The Hollywood Reporter writes that how Solo comes into possession of the spaceship will play a significant role in the upcoming A Star Wars Story film, due out May 25th, 2018.
“This new film depicts Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld — years before the events involving Han, Leia, and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and his rise to Rebel hero in Return of the Jedi,” Lucasfilm added in a statement. In September, producers announced a third Star Wars anthology film would arrive in 2020.
According to Variety, while the Childish Gambino rapper had long been considered the favorite for the role – beating out actors like Straight Outta Compton‘s O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube) and Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E) – but there was concern that the Season 2 pickup of Glover’s FX series Atlanta could prevent him from working on the Han Solo movie, which begins filming in January.
However, Glover, Atlanta‘s creator and head of the show’s writers’ room, will instead work on the series’ scripts now and begin production on Season 2 next summer in order to accommodate the Han Solo shoot.
Glover, who once lobbied to portray Ultimate Marvel’s Spider-Man character Miles Morales on the big screen, also has an unspecified role in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.