Why Woody Harrelson Originally Refused His Role In Solo: A Star Wars Story

Remember "Solo: A Star Wars Story"? Sure you do! It was the second "Star Wars" anthology film — that is, a film set outside the main "Star Wars" Skywalker Saga timeline — following "Rogue One," and its less-than-great reception essentially killed off the idea of Disney doing new anthology films. Instead, the studio stuck with finishing out the Skywalker Saga in a disappointing fashion and then shifted to a bevy of Disney+ shows (some of which are soon to make the jump from the small to the big screen). 

Directed by Ron Howard, "Solo" tells us how Han Solo became Han Solo, which was apparently a concept audiences weren't particularly interested in at the time, since the flick ended up being the first box office bomb in "Star Wars" history. All that said, I think "Solo" is better than its reputation suggests. It's not a great movie, but it's not an abomination, either. 

Part of what helps make the film work is a strong cast, which includes Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han, doing the best he can with the material (he's no Harrison Ford, but hey — who is?). Ehrenreich is backed up by Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandiwe Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Paul Bettany, with Harrelson playing Tobias Beckett, a criminal who ends up being Han's mentor. But as it turns out, Harrelson almost turned down the part. Ultimately, though, the actor ended up glad he took the role because working on the film resulted in a friendship with one of his costars. 

'Thankfully I ended up doing it'

According to Metro, Harrelson almost turned down "Solo" because he felt he had been working a lot and wanted some time off. "I was really debating doing this film and, in fact, I actually turned it down at first because I had been on such a long string of work and I just wanted to be home with my family," Harrelson said. He added: "Thankfully I ended up doing it because I now can't imagine not knowing Phoebe."

Phoebe is, of course, "Fleabag" star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who played the revolution-loving droid L3-37 in "Solo." As Harrelson tells it, he and Waller-Bridge really hit it off. "Oh god, I just love Phoebe," he said, adding: "She is just such a delightful, fun and uplifting friend ... A friend of mine told me about 'Fleabag' and I watched it all. I love it." Maybe one day, Harrelson and Waller-Bridge can work together again, and maybe moviegoers will have more interest in that hypothetical project than they did with "Solo."