As previously reported, it certainly sounds like Jabba the Hutt has a very important role to play in Han Solo: A Star Wars Story. But more importantly, it now sounds like the team behind the movie is bringing back the iconic puppet as used in Return of the Jedi, with some CGI enhancments. As opposed to the whole thing being CG as seen in the Star Was Special Editions and The Phantom Menace.
The upcoming young Han Solo movie has had a very rough week. It recently was announced that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street) were fired by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy over significant creative differences, which resulted in a lot of tension on set and behind-the-scenes. There were only a few weeks left of filming, but now Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush) has stepped in to finish the movie. But now for what is probably going to be good news for Star Wars fans. Assuming the story Lord and Miller had in place is going to remain at least roughly the same, which it probably will, it looks like Jabba the Hutt is going to be making his return to a galaxy far, far away in the Han Solo movie.
The news comes courtesy of That Hashtag Show, who didn't name a specific source, but say that they have received word that the story in the Han Solo movie does involve Jabba the Hutt, who Han has a pretty significant history with in the Star Wars universe. They don't say exactly how much screen time the famed crime lord of the Outer Rim will have, but it sounds like he is a pretty integral part of the story. Here's what they had to say about it.
"Before they left there was a story element in the film which we do not think is going to be taken out of the film. It's a big plot point and it features a returning favorite villain to the Star Wars universe...the recent departure of Phil Lord and Chris Miller is unlikely to change any of this as the story is expected to stay the same. According to our source, Han's history with Jabba will play out and Jabba will be appearing in this film. He'll be partially CG and partially an animatronic puppet."
Jabba the Hutt originally appeared in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and has become a fan-favorite character over the years. He was name-dropped in Star Wars: A New Hope by Han Solo before he kills Greedo and, when George Lucas revisited the movies for the 1997 special editions, a CGI version of Jabba was added to one of the early scenes. Fans hate the sequence, as it was poorly executed and the CGI is rough, to say the least. Jabba also made a brief cameo in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Point being, he hasn't had any quality screen time for a very long time. So hearing that he will be a big part of this movie could be some much-needed good news for a movie that has been nothing but concerning recently. It is also good to hear that Jabba, assuming this is correct, will be a combination of practical and CGI effects. It is believed, though, that the actual puppet in Return of the Jedi fell victim to foam rot. So the Jabba puppet seen in Han Solo will be a newly reconstructed version, not the actual one that was seen the third Star Wars movie. But it is believed that some of those pieces, such as the eyes, are still in the Lucasfilm Archives, and could be utilized. After all, they say the eyes are the window to the soul. So, this is very much akin to getting the original Jabba back. But in reality, the eyes are one of the things that will get a CG enhancement.
As cool as it may be to see Jabba the Hutt on screen again, there are many other concerns. It was recently reported that Lucasfilm brought in an acting coach for Alden Ehrenreich as they were unsatisfied with his performance as Han Solo. If he can't capture any of that Harrison Ford magic, this movie isn't going to work no matter who is directing. Hopefully, Lucasfilm is going to be able to steer this ship in the right direction and help make Jabba the Hutt's return to the Star Wars universe a good one. Even if his acting partner in some scenes sucks eggs. You can check out the full video from That Hashtag Show for yourself below.