Here’s an interesting tidbit from the upcoming Han Solo standalone film: that “mentor figure” that Woody Harrelson is playing? Fans of Star Wars books (specifically of A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy) will know him quite well….
In a recent interview with Variety, a savvy interviewer made their question about Harrelson’s character a bit more explicit–they asked if he was playing Garris Shrike, and Harrelson responded, “Yeah, I am.”
While it’s possible that he didn’t entirely hear the question, if this is true, that is a pretty big reveal in terms of his potential role in the story. Crispin’s trilogy dealt with Han Solo’s childhood as well as his younger adult years, and Shrike was basically the “Fagan” in his Oliver Twist-esque youth–he took on homeless kids and trained them to steal and con for him, abusing them when the mood suited. The banner of “Legends” for the old Expanded Universe novels means that it’s possible for the film to use Shrike only in name and remold the character entirely, but it seems more likely that his use will have some bearing on the plot of the film that mirrors Crispin’s original story.
This is fascinating because if true, this might be the biggest pull from the old Expanded Universe canon that we’ve seen thus far. There have been fun bits of trivia and name drops here and there, and the biggest move so far was dropping in Timothy Zahn’s Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Heir to the Empire Trilogy–he has now been featured on the tv show Rebels and has a new book coming up soon. But Shrike would be the first major character from the EU novels to get plugged into a Star Wars film. It opens the door wide for more concepts to make their way into the new canon, which will make for fun hunting amongst EU fans.
This is the part where we all start shouting for Mara Jade, of course. But I would also like to put a vote in for adapting Timothy Zahn’s Scoundrels for screen. If we have to sit through a bunch of Han Solo films, I would like at least one of them to be Ocean’s Eleven with smugglers and mercenaries, please.