EXCLUSIVE: Michael Kenneth Williams, an Emmy nominee for his supporting role in HBO’s The Night Of, will not be in the new Star Wars stand-alone Han Solo movie after all. His part has been cut amid the reshoots now underway with new director Ron Howard. Williams said the revamped production schedule conflicted with his commitment to spy drama The Red Sea Diving Resort, his new movie now shooting in South Africa with Ben Kingsley and Chris Evans.
“I felt great about what I created with the directors that I worked with,” said Williams, who was cast in the Han Solo origin story by original helming duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who exited in June. “It is what it is.”
“When Ron Howard got hired to finish out the film, there were some reshoot issues that needed to be done in regards to my character, in order for it to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in,” Williams told Deadline. “And that would have required me on a plane a month ago to London, to Pinewood, to do reshoots. But I’m here, on location in Africa. It’s scheduling. I’m not going to be back on the market until the end of November after [his SundanceTV series] Hap and Leonard, and for them to wait that long for me, that would have pushed back the release date, which I believe is in May 2018. They wanted me now; I couldn’t go. So they had to clip-clip-clip.”
Plot and character details had been kept under wraps, but Williams said he played a half-human, half-animal in the film and that “we created a kick-ass character, in my opinion. I’m proud of it.”
Howard took over from Miller and Lord in late June after the duo left the project due to creative differences. Production resumed in July, and Lucasfilm and Disney still are targeting their original May 25, 2018, release date. Alden Ehrenreich stars as Han Solo and Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Joonas Suotamo co-star.
“I don’t think that me not being in the Star Wars family is final,” Williams said. “I left with a very good taste in my mouth about the whole family, and I hope that I left a good taste in their mouth. They’re a great group of people, the Lucas family.”