You don’t become one of the most notorious smugglers in the galaxy entirely on your own.
Now that we’ve seen the first teaser for Solo: A Star Wars Story, we’re learning more about some of the mysterious characters that inhabit young Solo’s world — and that includes some of the shadier ones. Entertainment Weekly has a rundown on the three characters played by Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany, all of whom played a role in making Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) into the confident but cynical criminal we met in 1977’s Star Wars.
Tobias Beckett (Harrelson) is the most influential. “Well, he really shapes Han really more than anybody, as Han comes to realize that in a lawless time he needs to try to come to terms with some kind of moral code,” said director Ron Howard.
Screenwriters Lawrence and Jon Kasdan both re-read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island before working on the script, hoping to create a mentor-apprentice relationship like that of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins. In that book, Silver was a veteran pirate still looking for his big score.
“[Beckett] is a very tough criminal,” Lawrence Kasdan said. “And, as you might think with Woody, who has enormous humanity, it’s not just that … Han sort of forces himself into [Beckett’s] life … It starts a relationship that has enormous impact on what kind of person Han will be.”
Meanwhile, the character of Val (Newton) remains slightly more mysterious. “She’s tied to Beckett, that’s how Han meets Val,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “They’ve been partners a long time.” She also isn’t immediately impressed with Solo. “I will say at first glance, [Val] doesn’t necessarily have total faith in Han — as a lot of people he meets in his life tend to feel about him,” Jon Kasdan said. “She’s a little skeptical of this kid when she meets him. And her relationship with him goes in, I think, an … interesting direction.”
However, we know a little more about Dryden Vos (Bettany). Previously described as a “gangster,” he’s a well-dressed and sophisticated crime boss who doesn’t get his hands dirty. “It’s a sort of combination of class and swagger and real danger which I think is a fun thing, and [Bettany] absolutely inhabits it,” said Kasdan. “He’s way deeper in the crime world than anyone else that we meet in the movie.”
Although Beckett is also in the underworld, “they’re just in slightly different places,” according to Kasdan.
Dedicated Star Wars fans might recognize the character’s last name: the animated series The Clone Wars featured a Jedi named Quinlan Vos. But Lucasfilm said it’s just a coincidence.
Hopefully we’ll see more of these characters and others in future trailers before Solo: A Star Wars Story lands in theaters on May 25.