Star Wars, Han Solo Photoshopped, Alden Ehrenreich

E! Illustration

Welcome to the Star Wars universe, Alden Ehrenreich.

The New York Post's Page Six revealed Thursday that the actor will play a young Han Solo in a spinoff, due out May 25, 2018. E! News reached out to Disney and Lucasfilm, but the studios declined to comment on the casting. Other outlets, including VarietyThe Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly, have since confirmed via sources that the 26-year-old actor won the part. How did Ehrenreich land the most coveted role in Hollywood? "Alden really impressed Disney and Lucasfilm execs with his screen tests," a source told Page Six. "The deal is basically done."

The actor has big shoes to fill. When most people think of Han Solo, they think of Harrison Ford, who played the captain of Millennium Falcon in 1977's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1980's Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Star Wars Episode VII: Return of the Jedi. Ford, 73, returned as the smuggler in 2015's Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Ehrenreich beat out finalists Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction) for the coveted role. Casting directors met with over 2,500 wannabes—known and unknown—during their search. At various points, Emory Cohen, Scott Eastwood, Ansel Elgort, Tom Felton, Dave Franco, Colton Haynes, Leo Howard, Landon Liboiron, Rami Malek, Tony Oller, Hunter Parrish, Chandler Riggs, Nick Robinson, Joshua Sasse, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Miles Teller, Max Thieriot and Ed Westwick were all considered.

Alden Ehrenreich, Blue Jasmine

Sony Pictures

In March, Teller opened up about his try-out. "I had never even seen any of the original Star Wars movies until maybe a month or a couple weeks before my first audition because I was like, 'I should check this out.'" As he explained on Josh Horowitz's Happy Sad Confused podcast, "I just love Harrison Ford; I think that's a great character. I love his brand. I mean, so many guys would've played that part so wrong and he has humor at the right times. Harrison Ford is a very big actor— when you see the facial expressions and the things he does he goes big, but he's just always the coolest guy in the room and he's got all of those great qualities."

The following month, Franco said he knew he was no longer in the running. "I'm not good with impressions," he told MTV. "I think that's the reason it's so hard to cast this role, too. It's like, do they want to like perfectly embody who Harrison Ford is, or do they want to go a completely different route? Do they want someone to look really similar him?...I think they're struggling with that, maybe."

Who is Ehrenreich? E! News reveals five things you need to know:

Beautiful Creatures

John Bramley/Warner Bros.

1. Steven Spielberg discovered him in 2003. Ehrenreich made a home movie for his friend's bat mitzvah, which played during the ceremony. Spielberg happened to be in attendance and was struck by his performance. "It's a piece of s--t," Ehrenreich later told Rolling Stone. "It's a video that this girl asked us to do. I mean, there wasn't a script: We would go and just film whatever made us laugh. I'm this 14-year-old, skinny little kid with long hair. I break into her house, try on her clothes and make up a song. All of this is just us literally taking a camera and going like, 'OK, ha ha, do this.' We showed it to our parents—'We're gonna play this at her bat mitzvah!'—and they were like, 'You look like an idiot in this. I don't think you should really do that.' We didn't care." Regardless, Spielberg scheduled a meeting with Ehrenreich at his studio, Dreamworks. He eventually introduced him to director Francis Ford Coppola, who cast him in 2009's Tetro.

2. Like many of his peers, he toplined a YA adaptation. In 2013, in the wake of Twilight and The Hunger Games' successes, Ehrenreich starred opposite Alice Englert in Beautiful Creatures. "It's appealing to me to get to be in a commercial film without feeling like I sold out. This movie has so much going for it," he told The Boston Globe. "I didn't feel that it had less depth because it's a commercial film." Despite added star power from Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons, the film—meant to launch a franchise—was ravaged by critics and also underperformed at the box office.

3. He co-founded a theater/film company, The Collectin, in 2009. While attending New York University, Ehrenreich and Zoe Wirth began hosting weekly workshops with actors, writers and directors. They created six original plays and five short films during their time in New York, and in 2010, writer/director Melanie Shaw created the company's first feature film, Running Wild. Now primarily based in L.A., The Collectin still meets for workshops and performances. "It's always been very important for me to be surrounded by people," Ehrenreich told Interview in 2010. "It's never been enough for me to be successful alone. I want to be around people my own age who are also doing things I can learn from."

Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!

Universal Pictures

4. He was up for a role in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2. After Jamie Foxx was cast as Electro and Shailene Woodley was cast as Mary Jane Watson (her role was ultimately cut), the search was on for who should play Harry Osborn. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Ehrenreich and Brady Corbet and Dane DeHaan made it to the top of the casting list, with DeHaan cinching it.

5. He had to convince the Cohen Bros. to cast him in 2016's Hail, Caesar!. "The main thing for me when I read the script was, here's the opportunity to play with the Coens. It was something I only could've dreamt about. When I read the part, I just loved it. When I first auditioned for it I was told I probably wasn't right," Ehrenreich told Mashable of the movie, which also starred George Clooney and Channing Tatum. "The thing that was almost shocking was how enjoyable it was, what a good time everyone seemed to be having. Because they're so organized and how well they treat the people who work from them, everyone comes so excited to work and getting to be a part of their world for a while is just incredible."

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