The cast of the upcoming Han Solo spin-off movie have posed together for a photo to mark the start of the film’s production.

The official Star Wars website released a snap showing leading man Alden Ehrenreich sitting center stage in the famous Millennium Falcon ship alongside Woody Harrelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and newly announced Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo, in full costume. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller join the actors too, as filming gets underway at London’s Pinewood Studios.

In a statement released on the website, Lord and Miller shared their excitement at taking the helm of such a big project, following on from movies including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street and The Lego Batman Movie.

“Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous,” the pair said. “We can’t think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”

While Ehrenreich is taking over from Harrison Ford as the title smuggler and Glover is to portray a young Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams in the original Star Wars movies The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, it’s still unknown what roles Clarke, Waller-Bridge and Harrelson will play.

Basketball player Suotamo is the latest name to be added to the project, taking over from original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew.

“I am profoundly grateful for this amazing opportunity to become a part of the Star Wars franchise that I have loved since my childhood,” the sportsman wrote on Instagram on Tuesday (21Feb17).

“Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter’s development and portrayal of this beloved Wookiee has spread so much joy across the globe. Peter’s guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love.”

Westworld star Thandie Newton is also rumored to be joining the cast of the Han Solo film, slated for release in May 2018.

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Scott Hart