Christian Bale is certainly no stranger to blockbuster franchises, having played Batman in all three of Christopher Nolan's movies about the iconic DC Comics character and popping up in Terminator Salvation in 2009. But as it turns out, the English actor almost came aboard one of the biggest of film series going recently: Star Wars.

According to The Hollywood Reporter journalist Borys Kit, Bale was "the other big name" being considered by Disney and Lucasfilm to appear in their upcoming spin-off centred on a young Han Solo, before The Hunger Games star Woody Harrelson was linked with the project on 3 January. Harrelson is reportedly in talks to play the role of Solo's mentor in the origin film and is currently thought to be the "top choice" for the part.

Kit took to Twitter to share the news, explaining that the studios had been keen to bring a "big" name onboard. Interestingly, his use of the word 'before' in reference to Harrelson makes it seem likely that the 55-year-old will end up bagging the part despite yesterday's news articles claiming he was yet to sign a deal.

When it comes to the currently untitled film, pre-production is still very much in the early stages. The only performers confirmed so far are Game Of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke in an unknown role, Donald Glover – also known as the rapper Childish Gambino - as Lando Calrissian and Hail, Caesar! actor Alden Ehrenreich, who was officially cast as young Han Solo back in July 2016.

The Lego Movie's Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are set to direct, working with a script from Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jon. The anthology film was initially hoping to reach cinemas in May 2018 but could now be slated for a December 2018 release instead, according to fan site Making Star Wars.

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