Strange things are afoot at Lucasfilm. Just three weeks into production, and we're starting to hear some slightly troubling things about Star Wars 9, the final chapter in the Skywalker saga. A recent rumor claims that J.J. Abrams did some major rewrites at the last minute to incorporate more Lando and Chewbacca into the movie. This revelation brought light to another interesting fact. Before these rewrites, Joonas Suotamo had apparently already shot most of his scenes as Chewbacca during the production of Solo.
Apparently, Chewbacca wasn't supposed to be in Star Wars 9 much. His screen time was so limited, in fact, that most of his scenes were knocked out during Ron Howard's portion of the Solo shoot. This is interesting for a few reasons. Solo wrapped on October 18, 2017. It wasn't until four months later that J.J. Abrams confirmed he had finished the script, on February 21, 2018. So how did the Lucasfilm crew know what they were supposed to be shooting for Chewbacca?
It could have just been a couple of insert shots. And it's not revealed if Ron Howard was behind these, as J.J. Abrams was deep into pre-production on Star Wars 9 at the time. One troubling aspect of Chewbacca's limited screen time, aside that he was shooting without a finished script, is that it's possible they were going to kill the wookie early on in the movie.
Just today, new set photos of Joonas Suotamo in his Chewbacca costume leaked online. He is seen taking on a new mission with Poe and Finn. The wookie actor was set to shoot throughout August, but he would have been wrapped by September. Mind you, the entire movie doesn't wrap until February 2019. Suotamo was so confident that he'd be done filming that he locked in some dates at Portland's Rose City Comic Con, which takes place September 7-8.
On August 8, Joonas had to cancel those dates. This is were the story gets really interesting. The rumor is that J.J. Abrams rewrote the Star Wars 9 story, incorporating new scenes between Lando and Chewbacca. The actor will now shoot throughout September.
Billy Dee Williams was also set to attend a number of Comic Cons throughout the country from early to mid September. On June 28, the iconic actor behind Lando Calrissian canceled all appearances. It's speculated that Williams hadn't actually signed onto Star Wars 9 until late June, and he wasn't in the script that J.J. Abrams had already in place to shoot. So there was a rush to add in these new Lando scenes.
It isn't known if Billy Dee Williams was being a pain in the neck with his contract, or if the addition of Lando was a last minute decision by Lucasfilm to appease fans with this legacy character. It sounds like there will be some great behind the scenes stories coming out of this production as it continues. We doubt Abrams will get fired mid-production, but who knows what will happen before this franchise wraps itself up. These latest rumors come from StarWarsNewsNet.com.