While Han Solo may have been skeptical about The Force in 1977's A New Hope, he never questioned the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywaker. Perhaps because the 'old wizard' reminded the space pirate of his own mentor. In the upcoming spin-off Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, the iconic smuggler will be getting his own Jedi master of sorts. And it was revealed yesterday that this character will probably be played by Woody Harrelson.
Woody Harrelson is in early talks to take on this mentor role, having beat out Christian Bale for the part. But the character has not been revealed. As it turns out, Harrelson's role may already be a part of the Star Wars universe, only it looks like this guy is part of the Star Wars Legend canon, which consists of all the non-movie and TV show material that came out before Disney bought Lucasfilm. So, are we about to see Garris Shrike introduced into the official cinematic canon the same way General Thrawn was with Star Wars Rebels?
Perhaps. But even if Woody's character isn't called Shrike, it looks like whoever the character is will definitely have some roots in the Star Wars Legends canon, as pointed out by inverse.com. Garris is credited for teaching Han Solo how to fly and shoot like a scoundrel. Just as Kylo Ren (aka Ben Organa) is constructed from the cloth that made up Han and Leia's son Jacen Solo from the Legends books, so might Han Solo's new mentor.
If this is true, it sounds like Han Solo might be taking a cue from Oliver Twist, with Han Solo being raised as an orphan by this Garris Shrike-inspired individual. In the old books, Han Solo helped make up a band of merry orphans who robbed people. Garris was like the family's sci-fi version of Fagan to Solo's Artful Dodger.
Shrike first appeared in the A.C. Crispin Star Wars novel The Paradise Snare, where Garris serves as Han Solo's entry point into a world of crime. Therein lies a ready made plot for directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and their screenwriters Jake and Jon Kasdan to curb from. Han Solo is said to take place roughly ten years before A New Hope. Which makes since for The Paradise Snare. In the book, Shirke catches up with Han Solo nearly a decade after they last saw each other. Shrike has come to collect the bounty on his old pupil, but things don't turn out well for the old man. He is most certainly no Obi-Wan Kenobi.
It's not clear if Garris Shrike will be the exact character introduced in Han Solo, but as we've seen, Lucasfilm is not above bringing old Legends characters into the cinematic canon where it's deemed plausible that they would exist. Shrike was introduced way back in 1997, when the original trilogy was coming back to theaters and The Phantom Menace was still a few years away. And Woody Harrelson seems like a perfect fit for Shrike. He joins a cast that includes Donald Glover as Lando and Alden Ehrenreich as Han, with Emilia Clarke confirmed for an unspecified role. The movie currently has a summer 2018 release date, but many speculate that Disney will delay the movie until December 2018 to cash in on the Christmas holiday box office in the same way The Force Awakens and Rogue One have.