Disney and Lucasfilm has unveiled the first official cast photo for its upcoming Star Wars' spin-off centring on a young Han Solo. The image sees lead Alden Ehrenreich squeeze into the cockpit of the iconic Milennium Falcon, alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Donald Glover.

The release also confirmed Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the film, the Fleabag actor who will reportedly play a female droid in the movie, and Westworld's Thandie Newton. It also revealed that Finnish basketball player Joonas Suotamo – between Clarke and Glover in the snapshot – will star as Solo's on-screen Wookiee buddy Chewbacca.

Shortly after the image made its way online, Suotamo took to Twitter to share a heartfelt message with Star Wars fans about being a part of the ever-expanding sci-fi series. "I am profoundly grateful for this amazing opportunity to become a part of the Star Wars franchise that I loved since my childhood," he began, before going on thank the people around him and original Chewbacca Peter Mayhew.

"Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookiee has spread so much joy across the globe," he continued. "Peter's guidance and kindess have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."

Way back in March 2016, it was confirmed by Disney CEO Bob Iger that Chewbacca was going to appear in the film. While the exact plot of the film is being kept under wraps, it seems likely to assume that it will address the biggest, if not really necessary, mysteries in the Star Wars canon: How did Han Solo and Chewbacca meet? Why are their loyalties to one another so strong?

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the currently untitled Han Solo Star Wars anthology film began filming at Pinewood Studios earlier this week and is scheduled to reach big screens in the US on 25 May 2018. The latest script has been penned by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and his son Jon (Dawson's Creek) while Arrival's Bradford Young will be in charge of cinematography.

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