Has Paul Bettany Replaced Michael K. Williams In 'Star Wars: Han Solo'?

It’s sure to rankle some feathers from the outside without knowing the full story— the narrative of straight, white male “replacing” the African American actor— but that’s not necessarily the case. Paul Bettany of  the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “The Avengers” fame is joining the cast of the as-of-yet untitled “Han Solo” just a over week after  Michael K. Williams (“The Wire,” “Boardwalk Empire“) had to exit the role.

READ MORE: Michael K. Williams Cut From Han Solo Spinoff 

“Han Solo” director Ron Howard, who took over from the fired/replaced Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street“) in May just a few weeks before production was finishedtweeted from the set of the film, “The outer Rim just got a little bit wilder,” and many outlets’ initial guess and speculation assumed the actor, who plays Vision in the MCU, was taking over Williams’ role.

READ MORE: Ron Howard Is Perfect For ‘Han Solo’…At Least For Lucasfilm

That’s apparently not the case however, according to Deadline who write, “Sources tell Deadline that Bettany will be playing a completely different character”— originally a motion-captured half-human, half-animal character when Williams was in the movie.

Update: Slashfilm, who evidently reported their story before Deadline and we missed it, says Bettany is replacing Williams and the situation is not different from our posit below about the VFX issue. “Bettany will be playing the exact same character Williams was set to play,” Slashfilm wrote. “With the same name and motivations. However, the character will now be a human instead of a motion-capture alien.”

Williams left the role because of his contractual obligations to “The Red Sea Diving Resort,” a spy drama currently shooting in South Africa with Ben Kingsley and Chris Evans. Williams said that he wouldn’t be free until November due to his subsequent commitments to his “Hap And Leonard” show on Sundance TV and the “Han Solo” movie couldn’t wait that long given the already extensive reshoot production and a looming May 2018 date.

Howard previously worked with Bettany on “A Beautiful Mind,” and “The Da Vinci Code.” And honesty, it sounds like they’ve created a similar character on the Outer Rim of the “Star Wars” galaxy without needing the mo-cap/VFX work of a “half human, half animal” character in the interest of time. Since Lord and Miller left, Warwick Davis, famous for his role as Ewok Wicket in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” and Ron Howard‘s 1988 fantasy film “Willow,” conceived and produced by George Lucas, joined the cast in June. “Han Solo” underwent major, unprecedented, industry-shocking turbulence with the high profile firing of filmmakers midway through a shoot, but it appears that the steady, veteran hand of Ron Howard is pleasing Lucasfilm. What will they do about the director credit? Oof, that’s going to be a tough one.

The untitled Han Solo spinoff opens on May 25, 2018.