Donald Glover will play smooth-talking Calrissian in the forthcoming Han Solo film, Lucasfilm announced on Friday.

Star Wars fans originally met Calrissian, originally played by Billy Dee Williams, in the second film of the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, where he is introduced as an old friend of Han Solo's. Though Calrissian is forced to betray Solo, he later goes on to join the Rebel Alliance against Darth Vader's Imperial forces and is instrumental in the Alliance's attack against the Death Star.

Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said of the casting: "We're so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us.

"These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we'd like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever."

Though the back stories of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader are explored to some extent in the prequel to the original trilogy, less is known about Han Solo's past. The as yet untitled film will tell the story of fan-favourite Solo before he unwittingly became embroiled in the Rebel Alliance in the original 1977 Star Wars film. According to the Star Wars website, the film will depict Lando's "formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy's underworld."

Glover himself is better known for his role as the creator, writer, director and executive producer – as well as leading cast member – of Atlanta, charting the rise of two cousins on the city's rap scene. However, Glover was also an award-winning writer for NBC comedy 30 Rock, as well as starring in sitcom Community and Hollywood blockbuster The Martian.

The standalone film will be released alongside the three Star Wars trilogies and is set for release in 2018. The eighth instalment of the nine central chapters, starring Brits Daisy Ridley and John Boyega is due for release in 2017, following 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens which saw the demise of Harrison Ford's Han Solo.

Donald Glover
Donald Glover at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival Wikipedia