By Charlie Bouch
You'd have to have been living in a galaxy far, far away to have missed 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a cinematic spectacle that restored the faith of those for whom the saga had been tarnished by a dire trilogy of prequel movies (they weren't all bad, Attack of the Clones had some pretty neat dialogue about sand).
The success of The Force Awakens brought with it the announcement of a number of films separate from the main movies, referred to as the Star Wars anthology series. It was revealed that one of these films would be about the adventures of a young Han Solo, set some time before the events of the character's first appearance in A New Hope. At first I was thrilled, but my initial excitement was marred by the dawning realisation that a new actor would have to play the iconic role of the Millennium Falcon's charismatic pilot. Who could possibly fill those shoes? Along the way many names have been bandied about - Tom Hardy, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Miles Teller, Taron Egerton - all great actors in their own right, but in my mind none of them quite fit the bill.
For me the idea of another actor playing Han Solo was sacrilege. It would be like recasting James Bond (OK not the best example but stay with me). Ford brings the role to life in such a way that I don't know where Harrison ends and Han begins. I was very much of the opinion that he was the sole Solo and always would be.
That was until recent rumours emerged of a new front-runner.
Alden Ehrenreich, an actor whose name is damn near impossible to spell correctly without the help of the Google search bar suggestions. His was a name with which I was unfamiliar until mid March, when I went to see the latest Coen brothers flick 'Hail, Caesar!'.
The film itself had a very episodic feel to it, with a large ensemble of characters popping up sporadically throughout. One whose appearance I was constantly anticipating was Ehrenreich's character of Hobie Doyle, a naive young star of the silver screen, innocently following the orders of studio bigwigs whilst remaining unaffected by the excesses of heyday Hollywood. I sat in the theatre engrossed by his performance and wondering why I'd never heard of him before.
As Doyle he displayed a mix charisma and vulnerability that would perfectly fit the frame of a wide eyed young Solo. In terms of appearance he's a dead ringer too, baring a striking resemblance to Harrison Ford that admittedly I hadn't noticed until he was linked to the role, but now I can't believe I didn't see it before.
I'm really hoping that Ehrenreich's rumoured position as favourite for the role turns out to be more than just speculation. If he was given the part I'd be able to cast away my casting concerns once and for all, and gleefully await the adventures of a young Han Solo and his pup Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon.