As we are all by now aware; after certain events in The Force Awakens, Han Solo ain’t making any more Kessel runs (no matter how many parsecs you give him). This doesn’t mean that his legend ends here though. On May 25th, 2018, a slightly less grey Han Solo will make his triumphant return to the big screen, in a spin-off helmed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Han Solo would, of course, be nowhere without his comrades in (usually hairy) arms, and a new potential cast member is in talks to join the production. It’s one that we never would have expected to see fighting side-by-side with Solo, but we have to admit to having our interest piqued.
Variety has reported that Phoebe Waller-Bridge, star of instant cult-classic comedy series Fleabag is in early talks to join the cast. Variety dropped few hints about her potential role, and there are still a whole slew of blanks to be filled in. Although we know that she is being approached for a “major role” it won’t be one that uses her physical self. She will appear in a “CGI-Driven performance” comparable to the role of K-2SO in Rogue One.
Although there is every possibility that she will play an Alien, like Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens, the Variety article refers only to droids. This leads us to lean towards the likelihood that Phoebe will be doing something similar to Alan Tudyk’s mo-cap work as K2 in Rogue One. It’s a far cry from Kenny Baker baking in a garbage can under the Tunisian sun.
If so, it could represent an interesting first for the Star Wars cinematic universe: the first main droid character to be gendered female. Barring mishaps, she’ll be joining an ensemble that includes Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson will play an as-yet-unnamed mentor for the young Han, and Emilia Clarke’s role remains completely shrouded in mystery.
Star Wars has a history of using droids as comic relief, there largely to offset action and drama by getting into whacky situations or bickering with each other. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy chops are second to none, but Fleabag wasn’t just a cutesy sitcom. It was a cringingly bleak one populated by broken and unlikeable characters. Waller-Bridge’s self-loathing performance was hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, and it would be a shame to see an actress and writer of this caliber reduced to a “comedy sidekick” role. Let’s hope that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have something better in mind for her.