It’s always exciting when a blockbuster film makes use of the great talent that’s come up from the television world, as seen with the cast of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” From classic sitcoms to acclaimed British dramas to the WB, many of the actors who were enlisted to visit a galaxy far, far away honed their talents on the small screen first. IMDB never forgets these things, and here’s a look back at some of their most notable roles.
“Solo” Role: This guy Han Solo, maybe you’ve heard of him? Early TV Role: Ehrenreich’s first listed screen credit was a guest-starring role in the first season of long-running WB/CW series “Supernatural.” How long-running? Ehrenreich, now 28 years old, was 16 when he played the younger brother of a guy suspected of being abducted by a Wendigo. (And honestly, he looks younger than that.)
“Solo” Role: Tobias Beckett, who works for the Crimson Dawn Early TV Role: Harrelson has an impressively long resume and had quite a number of credits on it before he landed his memorable bartending gig on “Cheers.” In the beloved sitcom, he portrayed the affable but somewhat dim Woody Boyd. Although he’s shifted his career to movies since then, he occasionally visits his small-screen stomping grounds with roles on “Will & Grace” and the stellar first season of “True Detective.”
“Solo” Role: Lando Calrissian, famous co-pilot of Nien Nunb Early TV Role: Glover might have gained a legion of devoted fans for his time on “Community,” where he played the study group’s sensitive jock Troy Barnes. But audiences’ first taste of Glover’s talents came on “30 Rock,” where he played a handful of roles on the show he also worked on as a writer. In addition to playing a young Tracy Jordan, Glover’s crowning moment might have been his (improvised) line as the Clearly Gay Kid at Tracy’s commencement speech.
“Solo” Role: Qi’ra, former girlfriend of Han Solo Early TV Role: Her very first role was on the British medical soap opera “Doctors,” but of course, her biggest role to date has been on “Game of Thrones” with an equally big title: Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.
“Solo” Role: Dryden Vos, merciless figurehead of the Crimson Dawn space mafia Early TV Role: One of Bettany’s first trips to the small screen came in this early Internet murder mystery, a four-part UK miniseries from “Prime Suspect” creator Lynda La Plante. Oddly enough, if you swapped his character name here (Joe Hunter) with his “Solo” one, they both might be more appropriate?
“Solo” Role: L3-37, outspoken companion droid to Lando Calrissian Early TV Role: Before breaking out as a truly unique comedy star in 2016, Waller-Bridge appeared in the second season of ITV’s acclaimed drama “Broadchurch,” playing a junior lawyer defending the accused murderer identified in Season 1. Sadly, no official photos of her wearing a barrister’s wig were available.
“Solo” Role: Val, Tobias Beckett’s partner in derring-do Early TV Role: Newton, of course, is now having all sorts of new adventures on “Westworld, but her first major screen role was in the acclaimed Australian film “Flirting,” but she followed it up with a role as the love interest in the 1991 ITV TV film “Pirate Prince,” charming evidence of which can be seen here. Swashbuckling adventures, indeed!
“Solo” Role: Lovable pilot Rio Durant, who did not get his distant cousin’s height or high-percentage jump shot Early TV Role: A few years before “Swingers,” Favreau made a memorable appearance on “Seinfeld” as Eric the Clown, a birthday party entertainer that George hires. Watching Favreau get thrown aside by Jason Alexander as George makes a frantic escape from the apartment, you can almost see how he would be at the vanguard of motion-capture VFX 25 years later.
“Solo” Role: Weazel, an arms dealer who’s with Enfys Nest Early TV Role: Davis has actually reprised another “Star Wars” role on TV, but he may not have been recognizable under all of that fur. He played Wicket the Ewok in the TV movie, “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.” He’s also known for portraying Reepicheep in the “Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader” series and its follow-up, “The Silver Chair.” Notably, he played a fictionalized version of himself in the Ricky Gervais-Stephen Merchant mockumentary “Life’s Too Short,” about the life of a showbiz dwarf. He rounds out his “Star Wars” resume by voicing Rukh in “Star Wars: Rebels.”
“Solo” Role: Lady Proxima, a crime lord on Corellia Early TV Role: Well, Hunt’s most notable TV work came after she won that Oscar in 1982 for “The Year of Living Dangerously,” but it’s hard to overlook nine seasons on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” where she plays the badass operations manager of the unit. (And gets to hang out with LL Cool J on a regular basis, which seems like it would be fun.)
“Solo” Role: Lexi, a bandit leader Early TV Role: Newmark is relatively new on the scene, but she did make an impression in “Emerald City,” NBC’s visually dazzling but creatively bonkers “Wizard of Oz” adaptation, playing a follower of Glinda. Not only was her character a key part of the series, but her red hair stuck out dramatically in the witch’s all-white castle.
“Solo” Role: Ralakili, who officiates a droid wrestling match Early TV Role: Apparently Ron Howard has been getting his brother Clint work for decades, as the younger brother of the film’s director was first seen playing the silent sandwich-eating cowboy Leon on “The Andy Griffith Show.” (Howard is pictured here starring in the series “Gentle Ben,” as “Andy Griffith” stills weren’t available.)