Solo: A Star Wars Story is finally here and, all things considered, it’s not doing too badly with critics. Sure, its reception has been somewhat mixed, but it’s not the disaster that was feared due to its troubled production. Of course, that all started when original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired and Ron Howard was brought in to practically remake the movie.
Having seen the film, we can say that this was probably the right call, as Solo does feel authentically Star Wars-y. However, Howard’s revamp of the production did drastically change one character, and possibly remove a cool connection to the comics as well.
Under Lord and Miller, Michael K. Williams was set to play Dryden Vos, the powerful crime boss who fills the role of Solo‘s main antagonist. However, when Williams proved unavailable to return for the reshoots, Avengers star Paul Bettany signed up to take over as the character. With his casting came a major rethink of the villain, though.
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You see, Williams’ version was a full CGI creation who would’ve resembled a mountain lion in the finished film. StarWarsNews.net’s James Baney has theorized that, as originally planned, Vos was to have been the same species as Dorae, a leonine character from the Han Solo comics.
This would have been a fun little connection, but the villain’s alien appearance was not retained under Howard’s direction. Instead, Bettany played the character as basically human, except with some scar-like markings on his face. While it would have been interesting to see this mountain lion-esque creature realized on screen, you can’t blame the director for the change.
Given that he was in charge of either filming or re-filming 70-80% of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Howard was on a tight deadline. As a fully-CGI character would have taken a lot of care during production and in post, it makes sense that his team decided to simplify things and just make Dryden Vos a human. Besides, who knows, maybe this type of alien will reappear in a future movie instead?