Han Solo is continuing to shoot in the U.K., with director Ron Howard sharing more teases from behind the scenes. Over the weekend, he shared a photo of actor Paul Bettany as the actor wrapped his role. Today, we have a photo that could teases an iconic location. Ron Howard sent out this photo from the set, which doesn’t feature any obvious spoilers. But it does features an entrance to a cave, with most speculating that this is our first ever look at the often heard about Spice Mines of Kessel. Ron Howard didn’t come right out and say this is one of the caves of Kessel, but his cryptic tweet was enough to raise eyebrows.
The photo surfaced on the official Ron Howard Twitter this afternoon, with the director tweeting one word, “Spicey?” The spice mines of Kessel were first mentioned by C-3PO in A New Hope, when he warns R2-D2 that they should behave, or they’ll be sent to the slave labor camp. The Kessel Run is also mentioned in A New Hope, shortly after Han Solo‘s first appearance. His ship, the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, which broke a longtime record. The Kessel Run is used by smugglers like Han Solo to transport spices from the mines on Kessel to various customers. The director’s “Spicy?” message could very well be a reference to the spices transported on this Kessel Run. The spice mines of Kessel were a series of labor camps on the planet Kessel, where various species and Wookiee slaves were forced to mine a medicinal spice mineral into a dangerous drug. It may be here that Han Solo first meets Chewbacca as a slave, freeing him and thus earning his life debt.
Since the story is set 10 years before A New Hope, there has been speculation that the story will feature some iconic events only referenced in previous Star Wars movies. For example, it is believed that the sabaac game where Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) will be shown in this movie. There was also a recent report that the Falcon will be “brand new” in this movie. If this latest photo is in fact showcasing Kessel, then it’s certainly possible that we could witness Han Solo‘s record breaking run in under 12 parsecs.
It still isn’t known when production may wrap up on the Han Solo spin-off, especially since it was believed that there were only three weeks left of shooting when original Han Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired, after four months of production had already taken place. It’s possible that Ron Howard is using all of the previously-allotted reshoot time that was scheduled, but that was only for five weeks and they’ve shot a few weeks past the remaining three weeks and five weeks of reshoot time. While it hasn’t been confirmed by LucasFilm yet, since filming is still ongoing, it seems possible (if not likely) that the Han Solo release date will be pushed to December 2018, out of its May 25, 2018 slot, even though the studio insisted that the release date will remain unchanged when Ron Howard took over.
Despite all of the turmoil and controversy surrounding the film, Ron Howard revealed last month that he doesn’t want fans to lose hope in Han Solo, revealing that the production has been going great since he came aboard. Woody Harrelson also claimed that it will be the funniest Star Wars movie yet, which is interesting since reports have described Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s approach as a slapstick comedy take, with some even comparing Alden Ehrenreich’s performance to Jim Carrey’s in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Still, with production still under way, it will likely be quite some time before we see any footage from this movie. Take a look at Ron Howard’s latest photo from the Han Solo set.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) September 20, 2017