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Woody Harrelson

Josh Brasted/Getty Images

The Force is strong with Woody Harrelson!

The 55-year-old actor has been officially cast in the new, still-untitled Star Wars standalone film centering around a young Han Solo, which serves as a prequel to the original trilogy. 

"We couldn't be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody," directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who previously worked on The Lego Movie, said in a statement posted on StarWars.com. "His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong."

The news comes a week after Variety quoted sources as saying that Harrelson was in early talks to join the film and was the top choice to play Han Solo's mentor.

Production company Lucasfilm and parent firm Walt Disney Studios have not revealed Harrelson's role.

Governors Awards 2016, Alden Ehrenreich

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Walt Disney Studios announced last July Alden Ehrenreich, 27, will play Han Solo in the new movie. Harrison Ford had originated the role of the iconic smuggler, pilot and "scoundrel," in the original Star Wars trilogy and in the 2015 sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Thousands of actors tested for the role.

"I had an audition process that went on for a long time, and I got to spend a lot of time with the guys who are directing the film," Ehrenreich told Interview magazine last year. "Getting to be around them and being around the world a little bit has been the main experience so far. I did my audition on the Millennium Falcon for one of my screen tests, which was pretty cool."

Previously announced cast members include Donald Glover, who will play Lando Calrissian, and Game of ThronesEmilia Clarke, whose role has not been revealed. Longtime Star Wars movie screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan penned the screenplay for the Han Solo movie.

The Han Solo prequel movie is the second standalone film in the Star Wars universe and follows last year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The new movie is set for release in 2018.