The “Star Wars” franchise officially has a new key player, and it’s veteran TV and movie actor Woody Harrelson.
“Lucasfilm announced Wednesday that the ‘Hunger Games’ actor has signed on for an as-yet-unrevealed role in the upcoming young Han Solo ‘Star Wars’ movie, scheduled for release in 2018,” USA Today reports. “Harrelson will be joining Alden Ehrenreich (who’s been cast in the part Harrison Ford made famous), Donald Glover (as Lando Calrissian) and Emilia Clarke in the second spinoff ‘Star Wars Story’ following ‘Rogue One.'”
The new movie will track the adventures of Solo in his early career as a rogue and smuggler, before the events depicted in the original 1977 “Star Wars” movie.
Harrelson first gained wide attention as bartender Woody Boyd on the NBC hit “Cheers” back in 1985, a role that brought him five Emmy nominations and his lone Emmy win. He later beefed up his TV resume — including chalking up four more Emmy nominations, most recently in 2014 both as an actor and as a producer on “True Detective” — while also building a following in feature films for acclaimed work in “Natural Born Killers,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Kingpin” and “Zombieland,” among other roles.
He snagged Oscar nominations for “The People vs. Larry Flynt” in 1997 and “The Messenger” in 2010.
In a statement, the film’s directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said: “We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody. His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”