Woody Harrelson confirmed today he will be playing Garris Shrike in the stand-alone Han Solo Star Wars movie.
The actor told Variety about playing Shrike while promoting his new film, Wilson, at the Sundance Film Festival. When asked if he was playing Shrike, Harrelson seemed hesitant to answer at first, but eventually confirmed.
The character is a part of Star Wars’ extended universe and was first introduced in A.C. Crispin’s The Paradise Snare, which was released in May 1997. The book was the first installment in The Han Solo trilogy, and introduced Shrike as the man who swept Solo up and taught him how to be a criminal, essentially.
According to a summary from the book’s publisher:
Han Solo was a child without a past, a Corellian street urchin, abandoned, foraging for scraps of food, when the cruel Garris Shrike whisked him away to a nomadic band of spacefaring criminals. Now, years later, Han fights his way free. His goal: to become an Imperial Navy pilot. But first he needs hand-on experience flying spacecraft, and for that he takes a job on the planet Ylesia—a steaming world of religious fanaticism, illicit drugs, and alluring sensuality…where dreams are destroyed and escape is impossible.
Shrike was a young bounty hunter, but his quick temper resulted in the deaths of many criminals he was supposed to capture. Following his failings as a hunter, he turned to a life of crime, “collecting a group of orphans whom he used in confidence tricks and thefts,” according to the Star Wars wiki.
Although Shrike saved Solo from a life of homelessness, he was also a cruel man who would beat the young Solo when aggravated.
Harrelson will play the character opposite Alden Ehrenreich, who was cast as the titular character in May. Donald Glover has also joined the project and will play a young Lando Calrissian.
The Han Solo movie, which marks the second stand-alone Star Wars anthology film following Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will be released on May 25, 2018.