It seems like force Friday this year has brought fans much more than just new merchandise. Earlier today Ron Howard tweeted a photo of himself and Marvel star Paul Bettany on the set of the Untitled Han Solo Film. Those who follow Howard on social media know that he has been having a blast teasing fans from the set of the anticipated spin off. His photo with Bettany raised many immediate questions from fans. Is he in the film or just visiting the set? One can only see a piece of what Bettany is wearing and it could possibly pass off as his normal attire. This is not the case for very soon after Howard replied to a fan on twitter confirming that Bettany has indeed joined the film late in the game.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) September 1, 2017
This story could end here, but Slashfilm is offering great details as to why Bettany’s appearance in the film is just being revealed today. Bettany is actually playing the same character that Michael K. Williams was set to play. News recently broke that Williams character was set to be cut from the film because he could not make it for reshoots. His very packed schedule could not fit the new schedule for the film now under Ron Howard. If Lucasfilm got another actor to come in and fill his shoes, this implies that this role is too crucial to be simply cut. Howard has worked with Bettany twice before, so his quick addition makes sense. Despite being portrayed by someone else, this character will have the same name and motivations. The new change will come with his look and design. The character was a motion capture “half-animal” like alien when Williams portrayed him. Now he will be just human for the ILM visual effects team probably do not have enough time to create a new character for Bettany. If the attire that Bettany is wearing is actually his costume, we can expect him to be a smuggler like character. The smuggler description can also be hinted from Howard’s tweet. “The Outer Rim just got a little bit wilder”. Fans know that nothing legal goes down in this part of space. Could this character be a friend or old rival of Han Solo? They do seem to wear similar shirts!
Williams being replaced may sound disappointing at first, but at least this film team is not willing to completely cut the character thus possibly harming the script. Seeing another ILM motion capture alien would have been awesome and they are bound to give Bettany a look that could rival the original design. Sometimes when dealing with shoots that have had trouble like this- one just as to play with the cards that they are dealt.